A postcard craze gripped the nation from 1905 to 1920, as the rise of outdoor photography coincided with a wave of settlement and prosperity in Texas. Hundreds of people took up cameras, and photographers of note chose some of their best work for duplication as photo postcards - sold for a nickel and mailed for a penny to distant friends and relatives. These postcards, which now enjoy another kind of craze in the collecting world, left what author John Miller Morris calls a 'significant visual legacy' of the history and social geography of Texas. For more than a decade, Morris has been finding and studying the photographers and methodically gathering their postcards. In "Taming the Land", he shares those finds with readers, introducing each photographer and providing interpretive descriptions of the places, people, or events depicted in the photographs. The stories the cards tell - in the images captured and the messages carried - add an exceptional dimension to our understanding of life in rural Texas a century ago. "Taming the Land" presents postcards from twenty-four counties in the booming Texas Panhandle.
This is the first book in a set called "Plains of Light", which will collect and document turn-of-the-twentieth-century photo postcards from all over West Texas. "Plains of Light: The Pioneer Postcard Photographers of West Texas" is a set of books in the "Clayton Wheat Williams Texas Life Series".
JOHN MILLER MORRIS is associate professor of political science and geography at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He specializes in the historical geography of the Southwest and is the author of three books, including the multiple award winner El Llano Estacado: Exploration and Imagination on the High Plains of Texas and New Mexico, 1536-1860 and Private in the Texas Rangers: A. T. Miller of Company B, Frontier Battalion. He resides in Austin, Texas.