Tall-Tale Vintage Postcards

Reader Contribution by Hannah Kincaid
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Tall-tale vintage postcards emerged around the turn of the 20th century, and were often used to promote a sort of utopian myth about the agricultural abundance of rural communities. Photographer Alfred Stanley Johnson, Jr. specialized in tall-tale postcard production and worked for more than a decade to perfect the genre. The process used to create these images was simple: A photographer would take two prints, one of the background landscape and the other a close-up of an object, such as a pumpkin. The photographer would carefully cut out the image of the object, superimpose it onto the first, and re-shoot the combination for a final photomontage.

In 1915, due to the onset of World War I, America banned the import of German postcards and the postcard’s popularity began to diminish.  What’s more, advances in technology in the form of personal automobiles and telephones made postcards seem suddenly archaic. For more information about tall-tale postcards, visit the Wisconsin Historical Society website. The images below are courtesy of our friends at Seed Savers Exchange, a non-profit organization dedicated to saving and sharing heirloom seeds.