John Jakle, co-author of Picturing Illinois: Twentieth-Century Postcard Art from Chicago to Cairo (University of Illinois Press, October 2012), reveals his favorite from the book.

Figure 131 on page 133 of Picturing Illinois shows Memorial Stadium on the University of Illinois campus.  But, like so many cards, the image has been altered to improve its customer appeal.  In the background mountains have been added.  In the middle ground a lake appears.  And the card’s caption reads: “Memorial Stadium, University of Illinois, Chicago, Ill.”  It is not merely a mistake.  As we speculate in the text it appears to be symptomatic of the often smug Chicago attitude toward the larger State of Illinois—the emotion that everything worthwhile in Illinois must be in the big city.  And yet the big city wouldn’t be big if it weren’t for the farms, small towns, and lesser cities “downstate” and elsewhere throughout Chicago’s Midwest hinterland.  Even postcard images deserve critical thought.

Credit: Memorial Stadium, University of Illinois, Champaign, Gerson Brothers (#14779), Chicago.

Taken from Picturing Illinois: Twentieth-Century Postcard Art from Chicago to Cairo (University of Illinois Press, October 2012).  Previous postcards herehere, here, here, here, herehere, here, here, and here.

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