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Back View - Example

The backs of the cards in this series all have a standard format. They contain only text in a horizontal layout, printed in black. At the top center is the name of the state or territory. In the top right corner is the number assigned to the card in the series (from 1 to 54).

The remainder of the back contains an educational narrative describing each state or territory and providing various facts and figures about it in a standard format. Such topics as geographical location, size (both land area and water area), state capital, terrain, principal minerals, farm crops, manufactured goods, and climate are all summarized. Population is generally given as of the 1910 census and (except for the territories) is broken down by gender, by native vs. foreign birth, and by race/origin (white, negro, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, and "all others"). At the bottom center is a sentence stating "This is one of a series of 54 cards.".

While this set of cards was purportedly distributed for its educational value, and therefore doesn't have any of the usual Arbuckle sales pitches, logos, or factory pictures emblazoned across the back of each card, these cards are still, ultimately, coffee-selling tools. Somewhere buried in the text on the back of each and every card, sandwiched between dry facts about box elders and hydraulic cement, and in the sneakiest tradition of generations of marketing whizzes, are one or two short sentences extolling the virtues of Arbuckles' Coffee. Each one is different, and totally unrelated to the surrounding topics, but each is inserted as if it's just another statement of indisputable fact that needs to be committed to memory. (Wonder if these "facts" ever showed up on anybody's final exam!)