When Postcards Provided the Perfect Format for Propaganda

In the 20th century, postcards became not only an art form but also a sophisticated delivery system for propaganda, especially during both world wars and the years between.


Leonard A. Lauder Postcard Archive-- Promised gift of Leonard A. Lauder Courtesy of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

During its peak in the 20th century, the postcard was everywhere. It was widely considered a popular and accessible medium that was progressive for its time period. It was primarily used as a collectable item that magnified the pressing political and social prejudices of the era.

In 1870, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston was founded to serve audiences around the world with art that challenged the thought of imagination. In 2010, it became the residence to the Leonard A. Lauder Postcard Archive. The archive handled the study of the commerce, distribution, and development of the images. In addition, the archive manifests the narrative perpetuated by the medium itself, and the complications of art during both world wars and the years between.

The Propaganda Front depicts examples of the relationship between art, politics, and propaganda. The imagery raises questions on the role of mass media during this period and the social and political effects these images had on the public. These postcards hold timeless moments of history and showcase the complexities and mastery of graphic design. The following postcard images include universal messages that highlight the preconceptions of its time that can resonate both politically and socially today.

For more information: https://www.amazon.com/Propaganda-Front-Postcards-Leonard-Postcard/dp/0878467637