Harvesting Wheat in Iowa
William H. Martin
Gelatin silver print
Image: 8.4 x 14 cm (3 5/16 x 5 1/2 in.)
Frame: 55.9 x 71.1 cm (22 x 28 in.) (Multiple postcards in frame)
Gift of Charles Isaacs and Carol Nigro, 2007
Not on view
The tall-tale postcard was a uniquely American genre that flourished in the Midwest between about 1908 and 1915. The earliest master of the genre was William H. “Dad” Martin, a studio photographer in Kansas who established a successful sideline crafting photomontages of outlandish agricultural abundance. Intimately familiar with the tribulations of Midwestern farmers, including a fierce drought that parched the land for most of the 1890s, Martin lampooned the inflated promises of fertile soil, abundant rain, and hardy livestock that land companies used to lure settlers westward.