Snapshots and Short Notes
Snapshots and Short Notes examines the photographic postcards
exchanged during the first half of the twentieth century as illustrated,
first-hand accounts of American life. Almost immediately after the
introduction of the generic postcard at the turn of the century,
innovations in small, accessible cameras added black and white
photographs to the cards. The resulting combination of image and text
emerged as a communication device tantamount to social media today.
Postcard messages and photographs tell the stories of ordinary lives
during a time of far-reaching technological, demographic, and social
changes: a family’s new combine harvester that could cut 40 acres a day;
a young woman trying to find work in a man’s world; the sight of an
airplane in flight. However, postcards also chronicled and shared
hardship and tragedy––the glaring reality of homesteading on the High
Plains, natural disasters, preparations for war, and the struggles for
racial and gender equality.
With a meticulous eye for detail, painstaking research, and astute
commentary, Wilson surveys more than 160 photographic postcards,
reproduced in full color, that provide insights into every aspect of
life in a time not far removed from our own.
“Wilson presents a new approach… and his detailed accounts of cards
draw you in and make you a believer.” —Robert Bogdan, co-author of
Real Photo Postcard Guide: The People’s Photography