T.A. Carlson’s Real Photo Postcards: Promoting the American Dream in Nebraska

Authors: Jason Combs*, University of Nebraska-Kearney
Topics: Historical Geography, Marketing Geography, Regional Geography
Keywords: Marketing Geography, Nebraska Settlement, and Postcards.
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/8/2020
Start / End Time: 1:45 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Granite A, Hyatt Regency, Third Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In the early 1900s, the United States was literally postcard crazy as thousands of cards were exchanged daily. Photographers producing postcards captured signs of progress, images often included churches, courthouses, libraries, residential districts, and schools, for instance. Vintage postcards are now valuable as icons and the utility of the image in a historical capacity is in the legacy of that image, what it can tell us about place in retrospect. This project examines Nebraska postcards, specifically real photo postcards produced by T.A. Carlson in Holdrege, Nebraska. Carlson’s studio was located in Holdrege, Nebraska (Phelps County) yet he worked in several counties in south central Nebraska in the 1890s and early 1900s, including Dawson, Frontier, Gosper, Harlan, Kearney, and Phelps. This study begins by evaluating trade cards and the history of postcards, then transitions to focus on Carlson’s work and his use of postcards to promote south-central Nebraska in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

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