Out of all of the Avengers, I have the toughest time writing Cap. The morés of the late 1930's-early 1940s are hard to get a grip on - The Hays Code
meant that the movies couldn't deal with a lot of subjects in any kind of realistic manner, so a lot of nuance is stomped out with a great big stompy foot. No sex, no drugs, no immorality, no criticism of the church, bad guys must get comeuppance, no goings-on of any kind whatsoever. You ever notice the prevalence of movies in which a couple gets divorced, only to remarry later? Yeah.
I really owe my friend Jep for helping me with this - she's quite expert on the period, and I've been allergic to 20th century history until fairly recently. Here are some of the links she's recommended.Life Magazine
: All the editions of Life magazine, digitized, starting with the first issue in 1935. See the articles, reader reactions, advertisements and photographs. Here's a particularly useful article on juvenile delinquency during wartime
, referencing VD, marijuana use and teenaged girls considering it their patriotic duty to have sex with soldiers. Seriously.Radio Programs from the Internet Archive
: Too many to list. Check out '30s and '40s era news broadcasts and radio dramas. I've downloaded a bunch of "Cavalcade of America" and some episodes of the Great Gildersleeve.
Pre-Hays Code movies help, too, as they're at least a bit more realistic in terms of Victorianesque behavior (or lack thereof. Check out "Gold Diggers of 1933," for example.)
And remember that the Hays Code never applied to the theater, so you've got stuff like Noel Coward's "The Vortex," which deals with a young cocaine-addicted, gay composer as he's dealing with his total cougar of a mother.
It's tricky, but I think I'm finally starting to get a grasp on the extent to which neo-Victorian prudery really was a function of the 1950s and early 1960s.