Historical Context


Postcards can be an incredibly valuable source for historical research. When researching a historical era, or place, postcards, and other ephemera or other consumer goods can give the researcher a greater insight into the lifestyles and practices of their specific area of research. Postcards especially can be useful as people tend to write personal letters on them, or mail them to people connected to their life. These element often give historians a greater personal relationship with the person or place they are researching as they allow words and paper to be translated into a human connection.

 Located on the back of the MacDonald-Glencoe postcard is a brief excerpt on both the history of the MacDonalds and of Glen Coe. In the time of the Jacobite uprisings, the MacDonalds of Glencoe, as well as most other branches of the MacDonald Clan, were sympathetic to the Stuart cause. This was in direct opposition to their new King, William of Orange. The most significant event in the Clans history would be that of the Massacre of Glencoe. On February 13th, 1692, soldiers of the Duke of Argyll killed 38 members of the MacDonalds of Glencoe for their opposition to the new king. Most of these soldiers were members of Clan Campbell, a clan which had a long running feud with Clan MacDonald. This was in direct violation to Scottish and Clan laws; however, no punishment would be dealt. Most were killed either in their beds or in their attempt to flee the carnage. Among the dead were both the Chief of the MacDonalds of Glencoe and his wife. This was especially heinous as the MacDonalds had been hosting the soldiers for over a week as they toured the highlands putting down various rebellions and uprisings against the new king. This Postcard also can be used to understand the traditional images of Scottish Clans as the tartan and coat of arms were both symbols of identification, and to a greater extent, an ideology that the family structure in the Scottish Highlands was above all in importance to political and social sections of Scotland.

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