The Postcard Age

The Postcard Age

Selections from the Leonard A. Lauder Collection

  1. Lynda Klich
  2. Benjamin Weiss
  • ISBN 9780500290729
  • 24.00 x 21.50 cm
  • Paperback with flaps
  • 296pp
  • 420 Illustrations, 420 in colour
  • First published 2013
‘A fascinating book … from photographs of the Hindenburg in flames to saucy cartoons, this will inspire you to rummage in your attic for old treasures’ – Daily Mail
‘Lavish, highly serious and strangely compelling … magnificent’ – The Spectator

Around 1900, postcards were Twitter, e-mail, Flickr and Facebook all in one.

Drawing on one of the finest and most comprehensive collections of postcards anywhere, The Postcard Age traces how big historical and cultural themes of the modern era played out on the postcard’s tiny canvas.

A postcard craze swept the globe, giving rise to anecdotes about overburdened mail carriers who had to leave bags of cards undelivered. Many cards were thrown away after they had served their purpose. But the craze for buying and sending postcards was married to a craze for collecting them. Millions upon millions of postcards were never posted; instead, they were tucked into boxes and albums, unused and in mint condition.

Urban entertainments, the changing role of women, sports, celebrity, new technology, revolutionary artistic movements and the rise of nationalism were all fair subjects for miniature masterpieces. Many famous artists turned to the new medium, but one of the great pleasures and enigmas of postcards is that some of the most beautiful and interesting examples were made by artists whose names we barely know.

The almost 400 postcards represented in this book provide a vivid picture of the concerns, trends and pastimes of another era as well as a sampler of the artistic and historical riches offered by these messengers of the modern age.

Lynda Klich is Distinguished Lecturer, Art and Art History Department and Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College, CUNY. Benjamin Weiss is Leonard A. Lauder Curator of Visual Culture at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Leonard A. Lauder is Chairman Emeritus of The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. and Chairman Emeritus of the Whitney Museum of American Art. He has been collecting postcards for most of his life.