The Art & Humor of
A. Stanley Johnson of Waupun, Wisconsin

presented by The History Center on Main Street,
Mansfield, PA
How We Do Things, Second Ed.
Site Under Construction starting June 2018 - Still Working
January 2019
Collector's Checklist by Title

The Crop of 1909

Local Test Market - The Start of Something Big

The titles of these earliest Johnson exaggeration cards were copyright registered in October 1909. They were distributed in the towns around Waupun as a test market. These early cards had the hand-printed titles of "Crop of 1909" or "Raised at .." Most of these images were later printed and distributed nationally in the "How We Do Things" series. They were reprinted countless times for countless towns for many years.

While many of these designs are very common, the original 1909 Crop examples are very rare. All of the examples shown here are from the collection of Morgan Williams who acquired them in the 1980s. I have never seen one available in the sixteen or so years I have been collecting.

Exaggeration postcards are not unique to A. Stanley Johnson, but when he decided to try his hand in the exaggeration market, or as it was called then, the Novelty Freak genre, he started with these 1909 titles and marketed them in Waupun and other towns in his county. Apparenly they were immediately successful because before the year was out, he had expanded his distribution network. It would be an interesting study to examine when the earliest postmarks appeared outside of his immediate area, state by state.   

             The Crop of 1909 and the other early cards were real photo postcards. (RPPC) They were printed as photos on photographic paper specifically designed for postcards. Their clarity is much cleaner than later printed cards even though it is the same image. The titles were copyright registered 30 October 1909. Unlike the later “How We Do Things” series, which were stamped usually in red print, these were hand labeled with white lettering. Most of these titles remained prominent in Johnson’s inventory and were produced for many years to come in print, rather than RPPC form.