“Homestead is where the art is.”

September 28, 2011

An “unusual gathering of people”

Filed under: Culture, History — magicgroove @ 5:02 am

Homesteading is not new, and a trove of personalized postcards from a hundred years ago brings to life how much we may have in common with another set of homesteaders at a different frontier.  From “Homesteaders Show Off Their Claim Shacks”: 

Personalized postcards became a fad in the early 20th century; you could get any photo printed on photo paper stock and send it in the mail. The following are postcards of homesteaders in front of their new residences in South Dakota, North Dakota, and Montana, taken between 1907 to 1920. The subjects are dressed in their finest garments; they sent the cards to family members in other parts of the country to show off their new lives. 

Accompanying the image above is the following:

Homesteading created an opportunity for women to own property for the first time. Many even built their own homes. Out West on these big, undeveloped expanses of land, they could start over, relatively free from scrutiny. “There are stories of lesbians going on homesteads together,” says Michael Williams, who has collected thousands of homesteader postcards over the years. “It was this really unusual gathering of people.”

View the whole slideshow, including some of the handwritten messages, on Slate.com.

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