Larger Than Life: The American Tall-Tale Postcard, 1905-1915

Cynthia Elyce Rubin, Author, Morgan Williams, With
Cynthia Elyce Rubin, Author, Morgan Williams, With Abbeville Press $24.95 (132p) ISBN 978-1-55859-014-4
Reviewed on: 05/01/1990
Release date: 05/01/1990
During the early years of this century the tall-tale postcard flourished in the American Midwest. In design, close-up photographs of ordinary-size produce and/or animals were combined--in skewed scale--with photos of people. Painstaking scissor-work resulted in hilarious, proto-surreal shots: a tremendous porcupine chases a man down a street, children ride harnessed roosters, people live in bungalow-size watermelons, potatoes are so big that one alone fills a flatcar, bass are man-eaters, money grows on trees. Rubin ( Southern Folk Art ) and Williams, a collector of these cards, have assembled a veritable rogue's gallery of graphic lies and cheats; 135 black-and-white examples of the tall-tale postcard take us from the ubiquitous jackalope (a rabbit with horns), past the furry-trout and ``whopper-hopper'' grasshopper, to a new take on the proverbial giant clam. The text breezily discusses the traditional roles of boasting and the tall tale, and touches on such inspirational (for the tall-tale postcard artists) landmarks as Mount Rushmore and the Sioux City Corn Palace. (June)
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