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The Picture Postcard

A new window into Edwardian Ireland


Ann Wilson

The Picture Postcard, a new window into Edwardian Ireland uses the material culture of the picture postcard as a lens through which to examine life on the island of Ireland during the Edwardian period (1902-10). Picture postcards became extremely popular worldwide at the start of the twentieth century, when literally hundreds of billions of them were produced and sold.

This book draws on postcard collections to access the everyday lives of people who rarely make it into conventional historical narratives, and to make connections in an Irish context between their «small histories» and broader, well-studied discourses such as identity, nationalism, empire, modernity, emigration, tourism and the roles of women.


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I want to thank the Thomas Dammann Junior Memorial Trust and the Irish Association of Professional Historians for financial awards that made possible the publication of this book with coloured illustrations. To both of these I am very grateful.

Thank you to Margaret O’Leary for giving me access to her grandmother’s wonderful collection of postcards, and to Niamh O’Leary Moran for her generous sharing of her research on her family’s history.

Thank you also to Hilda Haugh and Mary and Arthur O’Donnell, who allowed me to examine and photograph their amazing family postcard collections.

Thanks as well to Dan Breen in the Cork Public Museum, Deborah Baume in the Cobh Museum, and Sinéad Holland and Siobhan O’Neill in Portlaoise County library.

Thanks too for their help in various ways to Brian McCabe, Mark Carmody, Julia Gillen, Viv Gardner, Robert Demaine, and Peter Gilderdale, and all those who helped me in any way.

To Christabel Scaife and Anthony Mason at Peter Lang for their help and patience especially.

Also thanks to all the Wilson, Madigan, O’Leary and Nolan family members who were so helpful in response to my questions.

And above all thanks to Jim, for everything.←xiii | xiv→

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