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What Makes a Tall Tale Postcard?



In 1908 William H. Martin produced this special, political card in a series supporting then Presidential candidate William Howard Taft. Its implication was that with electing Taft would come great prosperity. Taft ultimately won the election and served as 27th President of the United States, from 1909 to 1913.
Collection of Michigan State University Museum, acc# 1998:84.127. Gift of John Turner.


Tall tale postcards are a popular visual form of storytelling. Artists easily create tall tale scenes by piecing together regular-size images with enlargements or by juxtaposing two images that would not normally go together. Although hand-illustrated tall tale postcards were common, it is the trickery of photography that characterizes much of this genre. People sometimes assume that "the camera doesn't lie," but tall tale postcard creators have the last laugh, teasing us into believing their lies.