Thursday, January 28, 2010

Souvenir of the Wonders of Arizona Part 1

I purchased this postcard book a while back and I've put off writing on it until now. If you read this blog consistently, you may have noticed that I get a lot of mileage out of a single postcard. Well, this postcard book contains many, so I had to think of some way into a discussion of the book without just posting individual pictures and writing about them.
State Capital, Phoenix Ariz
What I thought I'd do is thematically post on the various conversations that can arise from such an apparently simple object as this postcard book. I'll begin today with a historical exploration of the book. As a student of print culture and material culture, I frequently approach texts from a viewpoint that seeks to reclaim historical information, but also to explain how the text fit into its particular historical moment; I study 18th century American crime and punishment, so I'm used to older texts with less to go on. Am I getting too abstract here? Sorry...I'll regroup and get to the history. 
Cactus Flower of the Desert
O.K. While the postmark is a bit hard to read,  it appears to read Aug. 1, 1912. Though there is no date of printing on the postcard book, I would place it before 1918 for several reasons. 1. None of the postcards depict structures built after 1912 (for example the Roosevelt Dam and El Tovar Hotel) and 2. additions were added to the west side of the State Capital in 1918 that are not pictured in the postcard of the Capital.  The photo of a car and the dress of the men appear early 20th century as well. The description from the inside flap states that Arizona had 204,354 in the 1910 census. The 1920 census found 350,000 residents in Arizona. Finally, one of the cards has a C on it. The booklet was printed by Curt Teich & Co. Teich and Co put letters and codes on their postcards to indicate when they were printed. The C series was between 1905 and 1926, though dates for cards marked with C were not as well recorded as some other series.
Cactus and Sage Brush
The postcard book was sent from "L. Brookman c/o N.Y. Life Ins. Co, Phoenix, Ariz." to "Mrs. Myrtle Harnett 1007 McCullough St., Lansing Michigan." I couldn't find out much about these folks except that it looks like Mrs. Harnett passed away in 1975.
Fish Creek Hill Apache Trail
As mentioned above, the postcard book was printed by Curt Teich & Co. of Chicago, Illinois. Curt Teich is most famous for the "Greetings from..." postcard series that feature the name of a city or state in big, bold letters. Each letter usually contains a picture of a landmark of the city or state.

So there are the facts about the object. Tomorrow I'll get into further discussions of the content.
Wonders of Arizona Description

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