A couple decades ago, if you didn't want to subscribe to entire magazines you could subscribe to things like Sportscasters: oversized trading cards that would show up in your mailbox much like the Columbia House CD of the month. If you like what they offered, you'd keep them and pay via the old credit card. Smaller and much shorter than a magazine, these oversized subscription cards offered great information, just as long as you were hoping to get to the point.
These weren't reserved just for sports subjects, though. History got a chance as well. One such set is Panarizon's Story of America set. According to this site, the entire set consists of a whopping 2,256 cards (or 94 decks of 24 cards). The cards are copyrighted 1979.
I recently picked up a couple to stock up for Super Sunday. Here's the first from the pile:
|1979 Panarizon Story of America "Mail-Order Brides"|
|1979 Panarizon Story of America "Mail-Order Brides" (back)|
As Europeans first started coming to North America and colonizing it, most who came were men. That poses a major problem for a place that was looking to grow. This card describes how men enticed would-be wives to make the dangerous journey to the New Land.
The picture on the card front reminds me of high school. Whenever a new girl registered there was a swarm of boys around her vying for a little attention. The girls did the same thing when a new boy registered too. The result was many broken hearts and awkward moments as the new student quickly established themselves in any given clique.
These Story of America cards pack in a tremendous amount of information for one roughly 4" x 6 " card. On the front there's a large picture as well as several icons at the top that show how the card fits into history. I also really like the map that shows what part of America the subject affected.
The back offers a nicely annotated story that sums up not only the event in question, but also a fair amount of details. I could see it getting a little tiresome if one were to put together the entire set and try ploughing through a bunch at once, but read isolated as a single card, it's not bad at all.
My fascination with Western folklore had me pick up a few other similar cards that I'll unveil eventually, as well as some other subscription cards. While I don't have any intention on completing any of these sets, they seem like a nice way to learn - much more exciting than the textbooks I had to read that came out around the same time.