Welcome/Bienvenidos to Border Postcard Views!

View postcards are visual representations of places.  The history of postcards and especially of photographic postcards has been chronicled in a number of important sources.1 This site presents selected examples of real photographic postcards (RPPCs) of Mexican border towns.  The postcards reproduced here are part of the Arreola Postcard Archive, a collection of some 6,000 images of Mexican border places. 

I am a cultural and historical geographer and I’ve been collecting historic vintage postcards for some two decades.  I teach, research and write about border places as a faculty in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning at Arizona State University.2  

A recent research direction engages the use of postcard imagery from my archive to illustrate and investigate how border places have been represented in the past.3 The visual past has emerged as an avenue to understand changing perceptions and representations of people and place using historical photographic imagery. In geography, a focus on imagery and its relationship to how cultures make place has developed parallel to the concerns and uses of historical photography in the social sciences and humanities.

This research builds on previous examination of the social and urban geography of Mexican border cities to expand the understanding of how these cities have been represented through visual media and to document change.4 

Border Postcard Views was created and is presently maintained by Nick Burkhart at Arizona State University. At present, the site includes only a sample of Arreola Postcard Archive images for Sonora, Mexico border towns.  In time, we hope to add images for other Mexican border towns. 

We encourage you to peruse the site and to explore the variety of historical postcard imagery for these border places.  In addition to the sources noted below, we provide links to other known sites that feature border postcards. Questions about access to these images should be directed to daniel.arreola@asu.edu 

P. J. Vanderwood and F. N. Samponaro, Border Fury: A Picture Postcard Record of Mexico’s Revolution and U.S. War Preparedness, 1910-1917, Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1988; R. B. Vaule, As We Were: American Photographic Postcards, 1905-1930, Boston: David. R. Godine, 2004; R. Bogdon and T. Weseloh, Real Photo Postcard Guide: The People’s Photography, Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2006; J. Rowe, Arizona Real Photo Postcards: A History and Portfolio, Nevada City, Calif.: Carl Mautz Publishing, 2007.

2 http://geoplan.asu.edu/arreola

3 D. D. ArreolaLa Cerca y las Garitas de Ambos Nogales: A Postcard Landscape Exploration, Journal of the Southwest 43 (2001): 505-541; D. D. Arreola, The Picture Postcard Mexican American Housescape: Visual Culture and Racialized Domestic Identity, in Racialized Landscapes in America, ed. by R. H. Schein, 113-126, New York: Routledge, 2006; J. Finn, A. Fernandez, L. Sutton, D. D. Arreola, C. Allen, C. Smith, Puerto Peñasco, Fishing Village to Tourist Mecca, Geographical Review 99 (4) (2009): 575-597.

4 D. D. Arreola and J. R. Curtis, The Mexican Border Cities: Landscape Anatomy and Place Personality, Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1993.