Comments we’ve received on our post a couple of weeks ago indicate that others are enjoying the panoramic postcards as much as we are! The following is a guest post by Helena Zinkham, Chief, Prints & Photographs Division, highlighting a few more observations from members of the team who organized and described the postcards.
People can be hard to recognize in panoramic postcards. They tend to look more like tiny stick figures in a diorama than individual men and women. The postcard processing project team members, however, found two intriguing people-filled panoramic views that will encourage you to zoom in closely, as you get acquainted with the more than 400 oversize postcards that are “new for you” in the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog. Be sure to check out the largest JPEG and TIFF files to see all the details.
Brett Carnell found special interest in a group of eight postcards showing Phoenix, Arizona, in the early 1900s. Do you see the woman with the tripod, standing just above the abbreviation “Ariz”?
Here’s a detail we cropped from the photo to show her a little bigger. She’s one of the few women he spotted out on the streets. Just as curious is the kind of work that she’s engaged in. If you recognize the type of equipment she’s using, and why it’s pointed at the building, please let us know!
Kristen Sosinski wrote about another postcard featuring a large group:
“As the end of another school year approaches and students (and perhaps a few teachers) count down the days until summer vacation, this panoramic postcard of a ‘Normal School’ in California, Pennsylvania, caught my eye.”
“The students include a lot more women than men. That makes sense because ‘normal school’ means teacher’s college or school of education, and most teachers at that time were women. A few clever students managed to be photographed by sitting in the windows of the building on the right hand side. Southwestern State Normal School is now known as California University of Pennsylvania. Are you wondering as I did, how a Pennsylvania town near Pittsburgh wound up with the name California? It turns out that the town was founded in 1849 at the height of the California Gold Rush. Perhaps they hoped that the name would give them luck in finding gold in their mines along with all that coal.”
- Visit the first part of this story at, Taking the Long View (in Miniature), May 3, 2013
- Look at all the panoramic and oversize postcards in LOT 14058.
- View the Panoramic Photograph Collection: more than four thousand larger format panoramic images measuring between twenty-eight inches and six feet in length.
- Read about how photographers made the panoramic postcards using a special camera and the history of photographic postcards in the book: Bogdan, Robert, and Todd Weseloh. Real Photo Postcard Guide: The People’s Photography. N.Y. : Syracuse University Press, 2006, p. 51-52, [view catalog record for this book].
- See how the larger format panoramic photographs are made.