Postcards: The First Texts,Tweets and Emojis?

Possible Classroom Concepts: Language Arts – Communication (Postcards), Writing

Social Studies – Hobbies (Postcard Collecting/Deltiology), Industrial Revolution, Family (Traditions)

Possible Art Concepts: Art History – Wiener Werkstätte/Viennese Secession (Viennese Version Of The Arts And Craft Movement)/Josef Hoffmann, Norman Rockwell

Art Careers – Graphic Design (Post Cards)

In my last post, I talked about pattern books from the Renaissance. For the next two posts I’ll be discussing two other art related forms of communication.

A few weeks ago, my all time favorite blogger, Cassie Stephens, posted a blog about creating felted postcards at the Frist Art Museum in Nashville, Tennessee. She was teaching a workshop in conjunction with the “Postcards of the Wiener Werkstätte” exhibit. You can read more about her workshop here:

I have to say that I knew nothing about postcards and my curiosity was piqued. I began by looking into the Wiener Werkstätte postcards. You can read a short description about the exhibit here:

and see some examples of these art postcards (Nude Alert – There are a few nudes, so, pick and choose the images that you  would like to share with your students) here:


My investigation did not stop there. I started looking into the history of postcards. Read a short history here:

I love the following video about early postcards in Great Britain. Here is where postcards were likened to texts and tweets of today. The narrator also compares stamp positioning to today’s Emojis.

Read more about the Language of Stamps here:

You may think that postcards are following in the footsteps of books and letter writing and being replaced by electronics. They are. Just google “today’s postcards” and you will find numerous electronic postcard travel blogs. When was the the last time you received a travel postcard from a friend? They have been replaced by phone texts and Facebook posts. The postcard is alive and well from advertisers. I receive two or three a day in the mail. Surprisingly enough, thanks to internet art blogger, Frank Warren, postcards are still hanging in there and even making the news.  Warren started a challenge over 10 years ago to get people to send him anonymous secrets revealed on homemade postcards. He presently has an exhibition, “PostSecret: The Power of a Postcard” at the National Postal Museum. The exhibit contains a pyramid comprised of a quarter million postcards Warren has received. The exhibit will be on display until September of 2016. Read more about the exhibit here:

So, why not help out this dying art?  It’s that time of year again, when students create turkeys, Indian corn, cornucopias, and the like. It is also the time when we share all the things for which we are thankful. Why not combine these two activities into a nice writing project in the form of a postcard. Look here to find a template:

Postcard Template

Tired of your same ole Thanksgiving ideas. Why not show Norman Rockwell’s “Freedom From Want” painting and talk about it’s history found in the Honoring The American Spirit section of the following post.

and ask students to create their family’s Thanksgiving feast on the front of their postcard like the one found in this lesson (Just have students make an oval table to fit the format better):

After students complete their family portrait on the front of their postcard, ask students to flip over their card and complete the postcard by addressing it  to a favorite family member and writing a short message including the sentence: ” I am thankful for…….”

Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. Hope you will stop by again real soon!


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