Martin king of exaggerated postcards

By MICHAEL BUSHNELL
Northeast News
May 22, 2013

 

Postcaard.5.22

 

 

William H. “Dad” Martin of Ottawa, Kan., is considered to be the father of the exaggerated postcard. Some of his better work featured huge ears of corn, giant apples and peaches, stalks of wheat taller than any man and massive pumpkins uprooting a farmstead. Such cards were hugely successful throughout the Great Plains states where agriculture was the life’s blood of rural America.

W.H. Martin moved to Ottawa in 1899 to serve as an apprentice under photographer E.H. Corwin. Eight years later, Martin purchased Corwin’s studio and began crafting the tall tale postcards that would eventually make him a millionaire.

This week, we feature one of Martin’s exaggerated, real photo postcards entitled: “A fight with a mad Pickrel” produced by Martin’s studio in 1911. The exaggerated image is achieved by the photographer taking two black and white pictures of his subjects – a wide shot and a close-up. The enlarged close-up would be cut, placed and then glued over the wide shot, creating the illusion of giant vegetables or animals or men dwarfed by stalks of wheat.

The card is an excellent example of the genre that Martin worked hard to establish. Most of his exaggeration cards feature scenes from around Ottawa, as well as real live Ottawans, including early photography pioneer Bert Underwood of the Underwood & Underwood Studios. At the zenith of its short, four-year existence, Martin Postcard Company reportedly produced more than 7 million exaggerated photo postcards. They were so popular that other postcard companies often stamped their brand on the back and sold them as their own. One source of the day noted that Martin’s studio actually purchased photographic emulsion by the rail car.  Martin by this time had grown tired of the business and sold the company to two Ottawa natives who moved the studio to Kansas City where it was re-named The North American Postcard Company. North American published mostly real photo postcards of various views in the Kansas City region. Today, some of William H. “Dad” Martin’s Western genre real photo cards command top prices at postcard shows throughout the Midwest.

 

 

Comments are closed.

  • Florida scene warms KC recipient’s winter

    February 3rd, 2016
    by

    Northeast News Originally sent to Miss Josephine Eakins of 3514 Forest Ave. in Kansas City on Feb.


    Airport transformed KC transportation

    January 27th, 2016
    by

    Northeast News Kansas City’s Municipal Airport was once a swampy, 687-acre bog located in an ox-bow area along the great bend of the Missouri River.


    Missouri’s home-state railroad

    January 20th, 2016
    by

    Northeast News Published for the Missouri Pacific–Iron Mountain Railway, this promotional postcard shows a picturesque view as described by the caption, “Along the Missouri River for more than 100 miles


    Hotel President still charms downtown Kansas City

    January 13th, 2016
    by

    Northeast News “The Hotel President located at 1329 Baltimore opened in January of 1926 is a magnificent fifteen-story structure incorporating therein all that is best in modern hotel construction.


    Larrapin Lou and the Babe

    January 6th, 2016
    by

    Northeast News George Herman “Babe” Ruth and “Larrapin” Lou Gehrig played in a barnstorming game on Oct.


  • Historic happy holidays

    December 30th, 2015
    by

    Northeast News Happy New Year!
    Sent on Dec. 31, 1905, to Mrs. E. T. Van Winkle of Hornellsville, N.Y., this unusual New Year’s card bears a black-and-white photograph of angels in


    Holy Rosary crib tradition a holiday classic

    December 23rd, 2015
    by

    Northeast News This real photo postcard of the Holy Rosary Church’s Christmas crib was taken during the 1941 holiday season.


    Beauty springs eternal on Historic Northeast’s Cliff Drive

    December 16th, 2015
    by

    Northeast News “Fountain and Cliff Drive, North Terrace Park, Kansas City Missouri.”
    So reads the description on this divided back, hand-colored postcard, published around 1910.


    KCK mayor creates fine architecture

    December 9th, 2015
    by

    Northeast News The cornerstone for the Masonic Temple at 803 N. Seventh St. in Kansas City, Kan., was laid Nov.


    Armour mansion an 1800s wonder

    December 2nd, 2015
    by

    Northeast News When Kirkland B. Armour began construction of his palatial mansion on the boulevard that bears the name of his uncle, Simeon B.


  • Local Weather

  • What’s Happening

    Northeast residents get a glimpse of future with possible designs of The Paseo Gateway

    Northeast News Feb. 4, 2016 KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Kansas City’s Parks and Recreation department hosted an open house last […]

    City to Speedy Cash – you’re done

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News Feb. 3, 2016 KANSAS CITY, Missouri — The wrecking ball has been spared once at the […]

    Inn at 425 offers many opportunities to explore NE

    Northeast News KANSAS CITY, Missouri — When your bed and breakfast gets lumped into groups with Kansas City's best hotels, you know you're probably doing something right.