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20th Century "Tall Tale" Postcards

PC-DS 1968_front.jpg

            This project aims to examine postcards as primary artifacts in understanding the lasting rhetorical effects of exaggerations in circulation. The focus is primarily on 20th century postcards and two branches of postcards that employ an element of exaggeration: Tall Tale postcards and Exaggerated postcards. Throughout the project careful attention is paid to how visual elements work in conjunction with writing-- whether it’s captioned writing or user added. Attempts to explain how these images influence perceptions of especially rural location and how a sense of place is cultivated in remote locations within the United States guide the project through it’s major points of inquiry. This exhibit will connect questions such as: Do postcards leave their recipients with an accurate sense of their origin? Is photography as a medium more persuasive? Do postcards work to preserve a history of a location or is the history influenced by the texts that are generated there? How does the element of exaggeration work rhetorically to accomplish short-term and long-term effects? 

            The conclusion of this exhibit opens a question to the audience about the perseverance and pervasiveness of the myth of American abundance. How this narrative of excess has created an expectation of the United States and how this narrative is perceived and manipulated through time and transculturally. 


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