Advertising, Marketing and Image: Visual Representations and School Modernity through Postcards (Spain, the Twentieth Century)


  • Antonio Viñao Universidad de Murcia
  • María José Martínez Ruiz-Funes Universidad de Murcia



Postcards, Educational modernity, School image and advertising, History of photography, Spain, twentieth century


By the end of the nineteenth century picture postcards had become an advertising tool for businesses, and their importance would grow still more during the early decades of the twentieth century. Primary, secondary and professional schools of education (especially those of a religious nature) were also quick to make use of them, and state schools built at that time would, albeit somewhat later, follow suit. These postcards served as a “business” or “visiting cards” for these educational institutions, which used them to show families and the general public the image, and images, by which they wished to be known. This paper analyzes the general evolution in Spain of this modern type of advertising, which transmitted socio-cultural values and created school identities, while also looking at the different uses that were made of them, the norms followed and the diversity of images offered by some educational institutions.


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Author Biographies

Antonio Viñao, Universidad de Murcia

Antonio Viñao is Professor Emeritus of Theory and History of Education at the University of Murcia (Spain) and director, since 2014, of the journal Historia y Memoria de la Educación. He is a former member of the Executive Committee of the ISCHE (1996-2000) and also former chair of the Spanish Society of History of Education (2001-2005). His current fields of research are history of literacy (reading and writing as cultural practices) and schooling, history of curriculum (school space and time, textbooks, school subjects) and secondary education, school memories, and the relationships between school cultures and educational reforms.

María José Martínez Ruiz-Funes, Universidad de Murcia

María José Martínez Ruiz-Funes is Associate Lecturer in the Department of Theory and History of Education at the University of Murcia (Spain) and a member of the scientific team of the Centre for the Study of Educational Memory (CEME). She holds a BA in Pedagogy. Her PhD thesis was entitled School culture and pre-school education in Spain. The Froebel Method (1850-1939), and her current research continues focusing on school culture. She is a member of the editorial board of the journal Historia y Memoria de la Educación. She is currently working on a research project that is focused on the recuperation of educational memory from the nineteenth century to the present day.