Florida-haters are everywhere, it seems. With the proliferation of “Florida Man” headlines, delusionally rabid Jags fans appearing as characters on popular sitcoms, and the state emerging as the world’s coronavirus epicenter, if you want to punch down in 2020, go ahead and take a swing at the southeast US’s sub-tropical appendage–everyone’s doing it.

Much-beloved, perpetually cynical comedian Jerry Seinfeld is just the latest to lob cheap shots at the Sunshine State, doing so last week in his paper of record, the New York Times. In response to another Op-Ed (this one published on LinkedIn) from entrepreneur and Miamian-by-way-of-NYC-COVID-exodus, James Altucher, titled “NYC is Dead Forever,” the comedian and longtime Manhattanite sarcastically described Florida’s “sharp focus and restless, resilient creative spirit” and told Altucher to enjoy his “enervated, pastel-filled new life in Florida.” More sarcasm from the very rich and very out-of-touch Seinfeld: “I hope you have a long, healthy run down there. I can’t think of a more fitting retribution for your fine article.”

Let me speak for my fellow Floridians when I say, “Jerry, go f*** yourself.” We love Florida. And maybe, among self-centered New Yorkers, that seems like a novel stance. But people have always loved Florida.

For proof of Florida’s prevailing allure, look no further than the century’s-worth of sunny missives on display at the new postcard exhibit on the first floor of the Jacksonville Public Library’s Main Branch (333 N. Laura | Downtown). The exhibition, “Four-Color Florida” features vintage (1910’s-1950’s) Jacksonville postcards from the Florida Collection (housed in Special Collections on the 4th floor of the Main Branch), some of which have been enlarged for the show.

“Four-Color Florida” is brimming with bold, hand-painted colors, grainy retro photographs featuring blown out lighting, and general sub-tropical merriment, all of which makes it easy to imagine a midcentury Florida interloper shipping out these pre-social-media humble brags–“Bet you wish you were here, etc.”

Here’s more about the show from “Four-Color Florida” impresario James Greene:

Printed postcards of sunny destinations did much to establish Florida’s image in the imaginations of 20th century Americans. The production of picture-postcards like the ones that show Florida as a palm-tree paradise led the development of mass-printing techniques from turn-of-the-century hand-colored lithographs to glossy images printed using high-speed offset presses. 

The Jacksonville Beach lifeguard station as it appeared in the year of its completion, 1948.

The invention of email and later, social media, has contributed to the decline of the use of printed postcards in recent decades. The annual volume of letters sent via US Postal Service has decreased by 11 billion items since 2016.

This exhibit highlights pieces from the Florida Postcard Collection, a history of printed ephemera from the Sunshine State. See what’s changed and what has remained of 20th century Jacksonville through the lens of picture postcards from the era. And if you’re visiting us from another state, feel free to take a postcard and send it out as a memory from your trip to Jacksonville!

So aesthetically interesting are these picture postcards, the show has sparked an Instagram handle and fervent social media following.

“Four-Color Florida” will be on display from August 21-November 28 on on the first floor of the Main Library. The exhibit is open to the public Monday thru Saturday 10AM – 6PM.