Better Living Through Chemistry

collage Sally Edelstein Appropriated images

“Better Living Through Chemistry” collage by Sally Edelstein

Who didn’t believe in better living through chemistry?

Post war Americans were eager to live out the dreams depicted in the color drenched ads that ran in all the magazines. Our romance with novelty blossomed as the world of plastics and chemicals was beginning to be revealed to the nation’s wondering eyes with each new miracle was awaited with bated breath.

It was expected that as natural resources became depleted synthetics would be ready to take over.

Better Living Through Chemist Sally Edelstein Collage detail

Detail of Better Living Through Chemistry” collage by Sally Edelstein. Composed of hundreds of appropriated images from vintage magazines, advertising, school books, etc.

Our pride in technology extended to the kitchen and the food chemists were wizards of altering emulating and improving upon Mother nature

Providing an artificial cornucopia to pour forth abundant substitutes for any shortage was a notion that made concern for conservation irrelevant to the promise of tomorrow.

We came to regard new products as the prime indicators of progress with little regard to consequences to our health or the environment.

My silent spring childhood memories would be chemically infused.

© Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream with appropriate and specific direction to the original content


This work will be on view in October 2015 at The Nave Annex Gallery, Sommerville, MA as part of the exhibit “Visaural: Sight, Sound & Action


  1. It’s the American way, you know. Just ask Supermam.


  2. I really like your blog, Sally. I like your reflections on the culture and cultural artifacts that were part of my/our growing up. And with some distance and a dash of satire/critique, you “bring new things to light.” (Remember that GE ad?)

    Anyway, were you around for the civil defense drills we had to take part in the late 50’s & early 60’s? I’ve often wondered what effect those had on my/our generation. I would have thought that practicing to die, basically, would have left a more conscious scar. I don’t find it. I sure would appreciate your reflections both in art and in words. You have a good eye for both! Thanks. –roc,sj


    • Thanks,Robert, I’m so glad you enjoy the blog. Funny you should mention civil defense…its quite an interest of mine, as it was a formative part of my growing up experience, one which lingers with me today. I have written several posts on that very topic and have done art work about that as well which you could view on my website


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