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Gallery 5

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Exaggeration Cards

Gallery 5, Part 1 of 3


Notes by Lewis Baer


Exaggeration cards were a purely American phenomenon that stemmed from the pioneer braggadocio of the westward expansion. Those old timers wanted everyone to know that they had the biggest and best of everything. Some of the first exaggeration cards appeared about 1905 from Fresno, and real photo publishers in the Midwest began producing Bunyonesque cards utilizing props and darkroom legerdemain. Edward H. Mitchell was quick to spot a good thing, and his San Francisco publishing house was soon offering giant California fruits and vegetables that enhanced the romantic image of California as the agricultural wonderland.









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