Postcard America: Curt Teich and the Imaging of a Nation, 1931-1950

Hardcover | January 20, 2016

byJeffrey L. Meikle

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From the Great Depression through the early postwar years, any postcard sent in America was more than likely a “linen” card. Colorized in vivid, often exaggerated hues and printed on card stock embossed with a linen-like texture, linen postcards celebrated the American scene with views of majestic landscapes, modern cityscapes, roadside attractions, and other notable features. These colorful images portrayed the United States as shimmering with promise, quite unlike the black-and-white worlds of documentary photography or Life magazine. Linen postcards were enormously popular, with close to a billion printed and sold.

Postcard America offers the first comprehensive study of these cards and their cultural significance. Drawing on the production files of Curt Teich & Co. of Chicago, the originator of linen postcards, Jeffrey L. Meikle reveals how photographic views were transformed into colorized postcard images, often by means of manipulation—adding and deleting details or collaging bits and pieces from several photos. He presents two extensive portfolios of postcards—landscapes and cityscapes—that comprise a representative iconography of linen postcard views. For each image, Meikle explains the postcard’s subject, describes aspects of its production, and places it in social and cultural contexts. In the concluding chapter, he shifts from historical interpretation to a contemporary viewpoint, considering nostalgia as a motive for collectors and others who are fascinated today by these striking images.

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From the Great Depression through the early postwar years, any postcard sent in America was more than likely a “linen” card. Colorized in vivid, often exaggerated hues and printed on card stock embossed with a linen-like texture, linen postcards celebrated the American scene with views of majestic landscapes, modern cityscapes, roadsid...

Format:HardcoverDimensions:520 pages, 10 × 7 × 1.8 inPublished:January 20, 2016Publisher:University Of Texas PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0292726619

ISBN - 13:9780292726611

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments1. .They Do Say It's Real.: An Introduction to Linen Postcards2. Curt Teich and the Early History of Postcards3. The Linen Postcard: Innovation and Aesthetics4. Landscapes in Linen Postcards: A National ImaginaryPortfolio I: Landscapes Representative Vistas The Southwest: A Regional Aesthetic Travel and Tourism Scenic People Resources Infrastructure and Transportation5. Cityscapes in Linen Postcards: Images of ModernityPortfolio II: Cityscapes Overviews Skyscrapers Main Streets Landmarks Recreation World's Fairs Accommodations6. From a Rearview Mirror: Contemporary ReflectionsNotesIllustration CreditsIndex

Editorial Reviews

.A wonderfully presented, provocative, and attractive book. The author’s description of Curt Teich’s life and work, which includes a detailed account of both the artistic and the business end of his operation, is likely to be the last word on this key American image-maker for many years to come.. - Eric Sandweiss, Professor of History, Indiana University, and author of The Day in Its Color: Charles Cushman’s Journey through a Vanishing America