Review: Beauty and the Beast (photo postcards)

Beauty and the Beast: Human-animal Relations as Revealed in Real Photo Postcards, 1905-1935Beauty and the Beast: Human-animal Relations as Revealed in Real Photo Postcards, 1905-1935 by Arnold Arluke

The title here is pretty self-explanatory. This is a collection of early picture postcards featuring animals and people. The first few of chapters Pets, Mascots, and Workers are definitely the beauty half of this book. According to the beginning “photo postcards, postcards printed from negatives directly on commercially produced postcard stock” (p1) was very popular during the early part of the 1900’s. It was “during this postcard era animals were becoming a more meaningful part of human family life, not merely as workers and showpieces but as significant others and ‘members of the family’”(p27). The people’s delight in their animals showed in many of the humorous shots and in some cases the pride in their faces. The commentary that goes along with many of the pictures is insightful to the time period. But, as the book progress into Food, Patients, Games, etc. I could no longer handle it and didn’t finish them. There were some interesting bits about the rise of the veterinary profession and how the postcards helped vets document strange cases, but I simply could no longer look at the photos. I skimmed to the end and the finial chapter on Symbols, had some interesting pieces including a bit about “His Masters Voice” which I though was cool because some of my relatives collect gramophones.

advance copy provided by NetGalley.com

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One Response

  1. […] Review: Beauty and the Beast (photo postcards) […]

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