Postcards, Gender, Sexuality, History: A Public Forum

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This entry, an off-shoot of the postcards exhibit, is created to foster public discussion on the subject of the history of postcards as it refers to changing ideas and judgments about gender and sexuality. is also interested in comments on race, class, and other subjects, as such themes are reflected in the postcards focusing on gender and sexuality. If you have additional postcard images to share with us, would be grateful and you may upload low resolution scans yourself.

The public is invited to add their comments on this page. We think that the insights that emerge will deepen our understanding of how postcards reflect changes in the popular culture of the United States.

We encourage you to leave an identifying name after your comment so that it's possible to distinguish comments by the same person. We hope that this page will foster communication between people who know about the history of postcards, and who will share their knowledge with everyone. Thanks: Jonathan Ned Katz, Director, Contact:

Link to: Postcards: Masculine Women, Feminine Men; early-20th c.

OPEN ENTRY: This entry is open to collaborative creation by anyone with evidence, citations, and analysis to share, so no particular, named creator is responsible for the accuracy and cogency of its content. Please use this entry's Comment section at the bottom of the page to suggest improvements about which you are unsure. Thanks.

Comments (most recent last):

Givenbak comments:

I think that to get the most of these images, it'd be helpful to build some context for them by adding such things as date.

By grouping postcards thematically, elements begin to show which can be heightened to also form a timeline. For example, I have a large collection of these postcards and I notice that the tweed half-jacket "mannish women", designed to ridicule and hinder suffrage, disappears during WW1. It seems that message contradicted the real world need for women to work "mannish" jobs during the WW1 labor shortage and so was abandoned. Admonitions such as a woman "doing men's work" would develop a man's tastes (resulting in lesbianism) failed and with them went the last barrier to the vote.

In the spirit of historical co-operation, I am submitting the following dates for some of the cards posted which I have from my collection. Hopefully, other people can come together and submit their information as well so we can build a definitive collection.

Masculine Woman cr 1905

Mollycoddle Series pm 1908 (all 5 in series)

Mannish Maid pm 1908

Miss Mannish pm 1909

A Counter-Part pm 1910

Hush Pa! It's Not a Man pm 1911

I don't Like to See a Woman (blue dress/brown coat) pm 1913

I Don't Like to See a Woman (old/young) pm 1917

Trouble with Pansies pm 1945

Jonathan Ned Katz responds to the above:

Thanks for your useful comments. I see that you are dating the cards based on copyright (cr) or postmark of your particular card. Please send me your email address so that we can correspond further. Jonathan Ned Katz, Director,