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Book Review:
Linen Postcards — Images of the American Dream

Linen postcards are those postcards printed on a linen-finish paper. They were the predominant form of postcard manufactured in the U.S. during the 1930s to 1950s era and are a uniquely American type of postcard art.

Although it is limited to a single type of postcard, Linen Postcards by Mark Werther & Lorenzo Mott is one of the best books available on postcards and postcard collecting. This book offers some general postcard collecting tips and includes research on the production of linen postcards that is not available elsewhere. There are over 500 color illustrations of stunning linen postcards—what the authors term "stunners." The concept of linen stunners is described as follows:

They can be of virtually any subject. The cards have a combination of wonderful and dynamic composition, detailing, graphics, subject matter, elegance and style, printing quality, contrast, and color.

Style seems to be the main thing that attracts American collectors to linen postcards. I am only familiar with American postcards, so I found the European perspective offered by Lorenzo Mott, an Italian, especially interesting:

Human interest is a focus of European postcard collectors. They search for cards showing people and crowds; especially in their occupations, but also at play. The more prominent the images of those people, the better.

The first third of the book contains material on the authors collecting experiences, collecting advice, and research on linen postcard manufacturers and distributors. It is this section of the book that elevates the book above a collection of pretty pictures. The remainder of the book is divided into twenty-six collecting categories, with excellent examples of linen cards illustrating each category.

Overall, the Linen Postcards book is exceptional, although I do have a couple of criticisms. I feel that the section on collecting etiquette is a bit too snarky and elitist. I also think that the section on humor is too brief compared to the space allotted to other categories and that the cards shown do not really represent the range of comic linen postcards.

Linen Postcards is a book recommended for anyone who collects or sells postcards. It would even make a good coffee table book for anyone whose decorating tastes lean toward deco or vintage.

ISBN-10: 0972829105
ISBN-13: 978-0972829106


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