Those were some postcards! (And that’s no exaggeration)

Michael Bushnell
Northeast News

William H. “Dad” Martin of Ottawa, Kansas, 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 1900 to serve as an apprentice under E. H. Corwin.

Eight short 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 titled “Prosperity.”

It depicts then-President Theodore Roosevelt on the back of a train, addressing a throng of people, flanked by huge onions, potatoes, cabbage and ears of corn. It was produced by Martin’s studio in 1909.

The exaggerated image is achieved by the photographer taking two black and white pictures of his subject, one a wide shot and the other a close-up.

The enlarged close-up would be cut, placed, and then glued over the wide shot, creating the illusion of giant ears of corn or men dwarfed by huge animals, such as fish, squirrels, birds or rabbits.

This card is an excellent example of the genre that Martin worked hard to establish. At the zenith of its short, four-year existence, Martin Postcard Company reportedly produced more than seven million exaggerated real photo postcards.

They were so popular that other postcard companies reproduced the images without permission and stamped their brand on the back and sold them as their own.

Martin also owned the North American Postcard Company of Kansas City, Missouri, which widely produced Real Photo postcards of views in and around the Kansas City area.

Want Northeast News articles sent straight to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
Enter your email address and click on the Get Instant Access button.
We respect your privacy

Comments are closed.

  • Many teams played at Polo Grounds

    May 27th, 2020
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher This week we continue our tour of baseball stadiums now long forgotten. The Polo Grounds was the […]


    Remember This? Cracker Jack prizes

    May 27th, 2020
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor Candy-coated popcorn, peanuts, and a prize- that’s what you get with Cracker Jack! This tasty snack was […]


    Tiger Stadium in Detroit

    May 20th, 2020
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher We continue our tour of iconic major league baseball stadiums that while not standing any longer, still […]


    Remember This? All Star Ballots

    May 20th, 2020
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor Royals Stadium was brand-spanking new when Kansas City hosted the 1973 All-Star Game. Votes for the selected […]


    Doubleday Field in Cooperstown, NY

    May 13th, 2020
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher Doubleday Field in Cooperstown, New York, named for baseball’s founder Abner Doubleday, is our next stop as […]


  • REMEMBER THIS: Baseball Scratch Off

    May 13th, 2020
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor Batter up! Want to play ball but don’t have a field or enough players? Before the advent […]


    Barnstorming Baseballers play ball to benefit Mercy Hospital

    May 6th, 2020
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher While there might not be live baseball due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we here at the House […]


    Remember This? Push button cans

    May 6th, 2020
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor Me and my RC, and the 1976 MLB All-Star team. To commemorate players featured in the 1976 […]


    Ebbets Field in New York

    April 29th, 2020
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher Continuing our tour of old ballyards across the country— and the fact this is probably some of […]


    Remember This? MLB Pinback Buttons

    April 29th, 2020
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor Don’t forget the Guy’s- Guy’s Potato Chips, for this special offer. Inside specially marked bags, chip munchers […]


  • Faces Of Northeast


  • Postcard


  • Remember This?

    Remember this? Radio

    April 22nd, 2020
    by

  • retorts illustrated by bryan stalder


  • Want articles sent directly to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
    We respect your privacy and will not distribute your information.