The Rise and Fall of the World's First Social Network


Thursday, April 7, 2022

5:00 PM to 6:00 PM Central Time (US & Canada)


This program is free an open to all, and will be held virtually on Zoom. The registration period has closed for this event.

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Author Lydia Pyne and Newberry Curator of Americana Will Hansen explore postcards as artifacts at the intersection of history, science, technology, art, and culture.

Postcards are usually associated with mundane holiday greetings – but there's a lot more to them than that. They are made possible by sophisticated industries and institutions, from printers to postal services. And postcards first established what we now take for granted: the ability to send and receive messages around the world easily and inexpensively. Fundamentally, they are about creating personal connections—links between people, places, and beliefs.

In her new book, Postcards: The Rise and Fall of the World's First Social Network, Lydia Pyne examines postcards on a global scale to understand them as artifacts. In doing so, she shows how they were the first global social network. For this program, she will speak with the Newberry's Will Hansen, who oversaw the library's recent acquisition and processing of the Curt Teich Postcard Archives Collection, which includes more than 500,000 unique postcard images, along with related production and other company records.

Purchase Postcards: The Rise and Fall of the World's First Social Network online from the Newberry Bookshop.

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Will Hansen is the Newberry’s Director of Reader Services and Curator of Americana. 

Lydia Pyne, PhD, a visiting researcher at the Institute for Historical Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, has written for the Atlantic, Archaeology, Slate, History Today, and TIME. 



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