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Heritage Crossing

Posted on: December 5, 2022

It's Only A Paper Moon

Boys on the Moon cropped

Almost all of us today exchange online photographs or “selfies” with classmates, family and friends. But did you know this practice has a long history?

Shortly after the invention of photography in the mid 19th century, tourists began documenting their travels with souvenir photo portraits. Photo studios were hugely popular attractions at state fairs, carnivals, and downtown arcades. Printed on penny postcards these images were mailed across the country to family and friends.

One of the most cherished backdrops was the “paper moon” – a cut-out crescent moon set in front of a painted backdrop with stars. Others included painted backdrops of tourist destinations like Niagara Falls, or studio props where people posed in front of painted canvas foregrounds with comical bodies.

Garlandites documented vacations with souvenir photos much like the rest of America.  We invite you to follow in the footsteps of generations past and enjoy our paper moon.


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