The Frank de Caro and Rosan Jordan Papers contain the personal papers and research of Frank de Caro and his wife Rosan Augusta Jordan. De Caro, an IU alum and professor emeritus of English at Louisiana State University, has authored several books on Louisiana folklore. He has also served as editor for several folklore journals such as Louisiana Sojourns: Travelers’ Tales and Literary Journeys. The collection includes research, correspondence, and manuscripts for his publications, as well the teaching materials and Day of the Dead research of his wife Rosan Jordan. Jordan studied folklore at Indiana University and taught at Louisiana State University until the early 2000s.
What really caught my interest, however, is the plethora of postcards the pair compiled over the years.
Folklore is more than legends and myths from the distant past, but something that is constantly expanding and surrounds us all the time; popping up in odd places and through unexpected forms. One form that many may not consider a purveyor of folklore would be that of a postcard. Postcards can be a way to capture bits of information to tell stories. Whether it’s a text description of the lore surrounding the dogwood tree, or a photograph depicting the day-to-day life of pottery making, the ability to appreciate lore and practices from multiple cultures can be found in postcards.
Since the mid-1800s, postcards have been a way for people to send written messages along with a unique image to give it a little something extra. Postcards come in many shapes, sizes and materials; some can be very detailed, with elaborate images incorporating cloth, metals, and other things attached, others can be as simple as a reproduction of a famous piece of art. Postcards can contain images of faraway places we want to visit, inspire us with art or motivational slogans, educate us with historical facts, or provide comedic relief.
The postcards in this collection provide excellent examples of the seamless ways in which folklore finds its way into everyday life through a variety of subject matter. While there are the typical postcards with depictions of beautiful landscapes and historic buildings, there are many peculiar postcards. Several cards take the classic American expression “Everything’s Bigger In Texas!” and pair it with humorous illustrations such as those below.
You’ve probably never heard of the Jackalope, or knew the significance of the armadillo to the state of Texas; but if you’d like to know, this is where you’ll find the answer! Continue to scroll through for few more examples and contact the IU Archives to see more from the Frank de Caro and Rosan Jordan papers.
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