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Picturing Illinois

Twentieth-Century Postcard Art from Chicago to Cairo

John A.Jakle, Keith A.Sculle

Publication Year: 2012

The American picture postcard debuted around the start of the twentieth century, creating an enthusiasm for sending and collecting postcard art that continued for decades. In this gloriously illustrated history of the picture postcard in Illinois, John A. Jakle and Keith A. Sculle study a rich and diverse set of images that chronicle what Illinoisans considered attractive, intriguing, and memorable. They also discuss how messages written on postcards reveal the sender's personal interpretation of local geography and scenery._x000B__x000B_The most popularly depicted destination was Chicago, America's great boomtown. Its portraits are especially varied, showing off its high-rise architecture, its teeming avenues, and the vitality of its marketplaces and even slaughterhouses. Postcards featuring downstate locales, however, elaborated and reinforced stereotypes that divided the state, portraying the rest of Illinois as the counterpoint to Chicago's urban bustle. Scores of cards from Springfield, Peoria, Bloomington-Normal, Urbana-Champaign, Quincy, and Vandalia emphasize wide-open prairies, modest civic edifices, and folksy charm._x000B__x000B_Jakle and Sculle follow this dialogue between urban Chicago and rural downstate as it is illustrated on two hundred vintage postcards, observing both their common conventions and their variety. Providing rich historical and geographical context, Picturing Illinois: Twentieth-Century Postcard Art from Chicago to Cairo illustrates the picture postcard's significance in American popular culture and the unique ways in which Illinoisans pictured their world._x000B__x000B_

Published by: University of Illinois Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii

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Preface and Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xiii

Some one hundred years ago, the lowly postcard prompted a true enthusiasm for popular visual art. Scenic postcards were mailed and collected annually quite literally by the hundreds of millions, thus coming...

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pp. 1-22

If Chicago was the great American success story, how could the city and its state possibly escape the focus of postcard representation? From a frontier trading post, Chicago had risen seemingly overnight to become...

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Part One Chicago and Its Suburbs: The Metropolis

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pp. 23-114

As the nation’s boom metropolis, Chicago was a major tourist attraction, and a major source of pride to its residents. “Greetings from Chicago” was a thought, if not an actual phrase used, resonating with all the...

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Part Two Illinois beyond the Metropolis

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pp. 115-184

The novelty card in figure 111 says: “Greetings from Illinois.” “Illinois” was a French adaptation of a term the Kaskaskia used in identifying themselves as “men.” The Illinois Indians, once part of the Miami...

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pp. 185-190

Of what use was the picture postcard? What was the sending and receiving—and the collecting and saving—of postcards all about? How important were the images? A perusal of the short notes that one finds handwritten on vintage postcards is instructive. Reports...


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pp. 191-198


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pp. 199-202


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pp. 209-212

About the Authors, Production Notes, Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780252093944
Print-ISBN-13: 9780252036828

Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2012