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Relationships between Images and User-Added Text



This exhibit shows the varying relationships between user-added text on postcards and the images on these cards. The postcards examined were those with user-added text that had been postmarked at any time from 1900 to 1949.

The user-added text on the examined postcards falls into three broad categories -- 

  1. Personal/Friendship: writing that includes friendly jokes or information about the sender’s/recipient’s life
  2. Vacation (destination-related): writing that refers to something the writer saw, experienced, or did on a trip
  3. Location (place-related): writing that references some object or place but does not explicitly mention any type of vacation or trip

The “personal/friendship” category writing and the “vacation” category writing can be broken down further into a couple of subcategories each, while nearly all the “location” category writing falls into one simple group. Each section’s individual categories are explained on their specific pages.

Despite all these separate categories, there is one important distinction to make in general in regards to user-added text -- the text always references the image on the front of the card either specifically by using a demonstrative adjective/pronoun (this, that, these, those) to point out objects from the image or generally by talking about things related to the image. In a few instances, the text makes both specific and general references to the card’s image. The general and/or specific image references of each of the cards displayed in the three broad sections are identified and explained.


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