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Dear Neighbor,

This website is a living archive of 48 postcards mailed to a randomly selected address on Hubbard Street in every state. Each recipient was invited to participate by mailing a postcard back with a description or memory from their street.

I grew up on Hubbard Avenue in Salt Lake City, Utah. This address was the first one I learned, and the description I've repeated most throughout my life when asked to define 'home.' It wasn't until 2017 however, when I realized my address was far from being unique. It turns out, every state (except for Hawaii and Wyoming) has a street named Hubbard. While the suffix varies – Street, Lane, Avenue, Road – Hubbard is synonymous with home throughout the nation.

Home is a fluid, subjective, and multi-dimensional concept though – much like Hubbard itself. Reminiscent of nursery rhymes, Hubbard is playful to pronounce and ranges in description from "an english surname composed of the old German hug ('heart', 'mind', 'spirit') and berht ('bright', 'famous')" (Wikipedia), to "an uncool, slow, unfashionable, annoying, awkward or stupid cyclist" (Urban Dictionary). There is also, of course, Mother Hubbard: "A character in a nursery rhyme" (dictionary.com) and "a loose usually shapeless dress" (Merriam Webster).

Much like these disparate definitions, Hubbard Street across America is both exceptional and unremarkable. Drawing the aerial view of Hubbard street in every state exposed this duality to me – each street is unique, but when examined as a whole, the streets appear largely the same.

So why postcards? Created in 1774, the 'Constitutional Post' (which later became the United States Postal Service) played a key role in uniting the colonies through a shared sense of place. By establishing a communication channel independent from England, the post defined the colonies as a unified force, which led to the revolutionary idea of united states.

While channels of communication within the US have only multiplied, according to a recent gallup poll, the percentage of Americans who perceive our nation as divided is greater than ever before. This postcard project is intended to celebrate the gesture of connection that the postal service represents. Our different experiences of Hubbard Avenue do not divide us, but accumulate to form a more complete definition of home.

Yours,

x

  Mail a postcard:

Jenn Livermore
RISD
2 College Street, Box 2225
Providence, RI 02903


 Send a virtual postcard:

jlivermo[at]risd.edu

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