Saturday, October 26, 2013

Postcards from the Future

Grinnell Lithography / Exposition Souvenir Corporation 
Anne Marie Todd recently shared a gift she picked up while combing through local antique stores to add some magic to a forthcoming event (the 50th anniversary of Communication Studies at SJSU!) - and I just had to post an image. It's a postcard booklet from the 1939-40 New York World's Fair containing images of various sites and attractions from that glorious paean to technological optimism. As a possible resource for future Rhetoric and Public Life students, I've typed up the descriptive material inside the booklet [below]. What a lovely thing to have good friends who know and appreciate one's idiosyncratic fascinations!
On the theory that the best commemoration is a re-dedication, the New York World's Fair celebrates the 150th anniversary of the inauguration of George Washington as the first President of the United States, by dedicating itself to building a "Better World of Tomorrow." 
The eyes of the Fair are on the future - not in the sense of peering toward the unknown nor attempting to foretell the events of tomorrow and the shape of things to come, but in the sense of presenting a new and clearer view of today in preparation for tomorrow [,] a view of the forces and ideas that prevail as well as the machines.
To its visits the Fair will say: "Here are the materials, ideas, and forces at work in our world. These are the tools with which the World of Tomorrow must be made. They are all interesting and much effort has been expended to lay them before you in an interesting way. Familiarity with today is the best preparation for the future."

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