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A postcard or post card is a piece of thick paper or thin cardboard, typically rectangular, intended for writing and mailing without an envelope. Non-rectangular shapes may also be used but are rare. There are novelty exceptions, such as wooden postcards, copper postcards sold in the Copper Country of the U.S. state of Michigan, and coconut "postcards" from tropical islands.

In some places, one can send a postcard for a lower fee than a letter. Stamp collectors distinguish between postcards (which require a postage stamp) and postal cards (which have the postage pre-printed on them). While a postcard is usually printed and sold by a private company, individual or organization, a postal card is issued by the relevant postal authority (often with pre-printed postage).[1]

Production of postcards blossomed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.[2] As an easy and quick way for individuals to communicate, they became extremely popular.[2] The study and collecting of postcards is termed deltiology (from Greek deltion, small writing tablet, and English -logy, the study of).[1]

Historical overview

1840 to 1864

In some places, one can send a postcard for a lower fee than a letter. Stamp collectors distinguish between postcards (which require a postage stamp) and postal cards (which have the postage pre-printed on them). While a postcard is usually printed and sold by a private company, individual or organization, a postal card is issued by the relevant postal authority (often with pre-printed postage).[1]

Production of postcards blossomed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.[2] As an easy and quick way for individuals to communicate, they became extremely popular.[2] The study and collecting of postcards is termed deltiology (from Greek deltion, small writing tablet, and English -logy, the study of).[1]

Cards with messages have been sporadically created and posted by individuals since the beginning of postal services. The earliest known picture postcard was a hand-painted design on card created by the writer Theodore Hook. Hook posted the card, which bears a penny black stamp, to himself in 1840 from Fulham (part of London).[3][4] He probably did so as a practical joke on the postal service, since the image is a caricature of workers in the post office.[4][5] In 2002 the postcard sold for a record £31,750.[4]

In the United States, the custom of sending through the mail, at letter rate, a picture or blank card stock that held a message, began with a card postmarked in December 1848 containing printed advertising.[6] The first commercially produced card was created in 1861 by John P. Charlton of Philadelphia, who patented a private postal card, and sold the rights to Hymen Lipman, whose postcards, complete with a decorated border, were marketed as "Lipman's Postal Card".[1][2] These cards had no images. While the United States government allowed privately printed cards as early as February 1861, they saw little use until 1870, when experiments were done on their commercial viability.[7][2]

First postals and private postcards (ca. 1865 to 1880)

"Feldpost-Correspondenzkarte" (lit. field post correspondence card) used during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870.

A Prussian postal official, Dr. Heinrich von Stephan, first proposed an "open post-sheet" made of stiff paper in 1865.[7][1][8] He proposed that one side would be reserved for a recipient address, and the other for a brief message.[8] His proposal was denied on grounds of being too radical and officials did not believe anyone would willingly give up their privacy.[8] In October 1869, the post office of Austria-Hungary accepted a similar proposal (also without images), and 3 million cards were mailed within the first 3 months.[1][8] With the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War in July 1870, the government of the North German Confederation decided to take the advice of Austrian Dr. Emanuel Herrmann and issued postals for soldiers to inexpensively send home from the field.[7][1]

The period from 1870 to 1874 saw a great number of countries begin the issuance of postals. In 1870, the North German Confederation was joined by Baden, Bavaria, Great Britain, Luxembourg, and Switzerland.[7][9] The year 1871 saw Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden introduce their own postals.[7][9] Algeria, Chile, France, and Russia did so in 1872, and were followed thereafter by France, Japan, Romania, Serbia, Spain, and the United States between 1873 and 1874.[9][7] Many of these postals included small images on the same side as the postage.[7] Postcards began to be sent internationally after the first Congress of the General Postal Union, which met in Bern, Switzerland in October 1874.[9][10] The Treaty of Bern was ratified in the United States in 1875.[10]

In the United States, the custom of sending through the mail, at letter rate, a picture or blank card stock that held a message, began with a card postmarked in December 1848 containing printed advertising.[6] The first commercially produced card was created in 1861 by John P. Charlton of Philadelphia, who patented a private postal card, and sold the rights to Hymen Lipman, whose postcards, complete with a decorated border, were marketed as "Lipman's Postal Card".[1][2] These cards had no images. While the United States government allowed privately printed cards as early as February 1861, they saw little use until 1870, when experiments were done on their commercial viability.[7][2]

A Prussian postal official, Dr. Heinrich von Stephan, first proposed an "open post-sheet" made of stiff paper in 1865.[7][1][8] He proposed that one side would be reserved for a recipient address, and the other for a brief message.[8] His proposal was denied on grounds of being too radical and officials did not believe anyone would willingly give up their privacy.[8] In October 1869, the post office of Austria-Hungary accepted a similar proposal (also without images), and 3 million cards were mailed within the first 3 months.[1][8] With the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War in July 1870, the government of the North German Confederation decided to take the advice of Austrian Dr. Emanuel Herrmann and issued postals for soldiers to inexpensively send home from the field.[7][1]

The period from 1870 to 1874 saw a great number of countries begin the issuance of postals. In 1870, the North German Confederation was joined by Baden, Bavaria, Great Britain, Luxembourg, and Switzerland.[7][9] The year 1871 saw Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden introduce their own postals.[7][9] Algeria, Chile, France, and Russia did so in 1872, and were followed thereafter by France, Japan, Romania, Serbia, Spain, and the United States between 1873 and 1874.[9][7] Many of these postals included small images on the same side as the postage.[7] Postcards began to be sent internationally after the first Congress of the General Postal Union, which met in Bern, Switzerland in October 1874.[7][9] The year 1871 saw Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden introduce their own postals.[7][9] Algeria, Chile, France, and Russia did so in 1872, and were followed thereafter by France, Japan, Romania, Serbia, Spain, and the United States between 1873 and 1874.[9][7] Many of these postals included small images on the same side as the postage.[7] Postcards began to be sent internationally after the first Congress of the General Postal Union, which met in Bern, Switzerland in October 1874.[9][10] The Treaty of Bern was ratified in the United States in 1875.[10]

The first known printed picture postcard, with an image on one side, was created in France in 1870 at Camp Conlie by Léon Besnardeau (1829–1914). Conlie was a training camp for soldiers in the Franco-Prussian War. The cards had a lithographed design printed on them containing emblematic images of piles of armaments on either side of a scroll topped by the arms of the Duchy of Brittany and the inscription "War of 1870. Camp Conlie. Souvenir of the National Defence. Army of Brittany" (in French).[11] While these are certainly the first known picture postcards, there was no space for stamps and no evidence that they were ever posted without envelopes.[12]

In the following year the first known picture postcard in which the image functioned as a souvenir was sent from Vienna. [13] The first advertising card appeared in 1872 in Great Britain and the first German card appeared in 1874. Private advertising cards started appearing in the United States around 1873, and qualified for a special postage rate of one cent.[7] P

In the following year the first known picture postcard in which the image functioned as a souvenir was sent from Vienna. [13] The first advertising card appeared in 1872 in Great Britain and the first German card appeared in 1874. Private advertising cards started appearing in the United States around 1873, and qualified for a special postage rate of one cent.[7] Private cards inspired Lipman's card were also produced concurrently with the U.S. government postal in 1873.[7][1] The backs of these private cards contained the words "Correspondence Card", "Mail Card" or "Souvenir Card" and required two-cent postage if they were written upon.[7][2]

Cards showing images increased in number during the 1880s. Images of the newly built Eiffel Tower in 1889 and 1890 gave impetus to the postcard, leading to the so-called "golden age" of the picture postcard.[7] This golden age began slightly earlier in Europe than the United States, likely due to a depression in the 1890s.[7] Still, the Chicago World's Fair in 1893 excited many attendees with its line of "Official Souvenir" postals, which popularized the idea of picture postcards.[1][14] The stage was now set for private postcard industry to boom, which it did once the United States government changed the postage rate for private cards from two cents to one in May 1898.[1][14]

Spanning from approximately 1905 to 1915 in the United States, the golden age of postcards stemmed from a combination of social, economic, and governmental factors.[1][14] Demand for postcards increased, government restrictions on production loosened, and technological advances (in p

Spanning from approximately 1905 to 1915 in the United States, the golden age of postcards stemmed from a combination of social, economic, and governmental factors.[1][14] Demand for postcards increased, government restrictions on production loosened, and technological advances (in photography, printing, and mass production) made the boom possible.[1] In addition, the expansion of Rural Free Delivery allowed mail to be delivered to more American households than ever before.[1] Billions of postcards were mailed during the golden age, including nearly a billion per year in United States from 1905 to 1915, and 7 billion worldwide in 1905.[15][16] Many postcards from this era were in fact never posted but directly acquired by collectors themselves.[17]

Despite years of incredible success, economic and government forces would ultimately spell the end of the golden age. The peak came sometime between 1907 and 1910 for the United States.[1][2] In 1909, American publishers successfully lobbied to place tariffs on high quality German imports with the Payne-Aldrich Tariff Act.[1] The effects of tariffs really started to make a large impact, and escalating hostilities in Europe made it difficult to import cards and ink into the United States.[1] The fad may have also simply run its natural course.[1] The war disrupted production efforts in Europe, although postcard production did not entirely stop.[18] Cards were still useful for propaganda, and for boosting troop morale.[15][18]

Post-World War I (1918 to present)

After the war, the production of postcards continued, albeit in different styles than before. Demand for postcards decreased, especially as telephone usage grew.[1] There was still a need for postcards, which would be dubbed the "poor man's telephone".After the war, the production of postcards continued, albeit in different styles than before. Demand for postcards decreased, especially as telephone usage grew.[1] There was still a need for postcards, which would be dubbed the "poor man's telephone".[19] As tastes changed, publishers began focusing on scenic views, humor, and fashion.[18] "White border" cards, which existed prior to the war, were produced in greater numbers from roughly 1915 to 1930 in the United States.[1][2] They required less ink and had lower production standards than fine German cards.[18] These were later replaced by "linen" postcards in the 1930s and 1940s, which used a printing process popularized by Curt Teich.[1][2] Finally, the modern era of Photochrom (often shortened simply to "chrome") postcards began in 1939, and gained momentum around 1950.[2] These glossy, colorful postcards are what we most commonly encounter today.[2]

Country specifics

IndiaPost Office of India introduced a quarter anna postcard that could be posted from one place to another within British India. This was the cheapest form of post provided to the Indian people to date and proved a huge success. The establishment of a large postal system spanning India resulted in unprecedented postal access: a message on a postcard could be sent from one part of the country to another part (often to a physical address without a nearby post office) without additional postage affixed. This was followed in April 1880 by postcards meant specifically for government use and by reply postcards in 1890.[20]:423–424 The postcard facility continues to this date in independent India.

Japan

[21][22] Return postcards were introduced in 1885, sealed postcards in 1900, and private postcards were allowed from 1900.[21]

In Japan, official postcards have one side dedicated exclusively to the address, and the other side for the content, though commemorative picture postcards and private picture postcards also exist. In Japan today, two particular idiosyncratic postcard customs exist: New Year's Day postcards (年賀状, nengajō) and return postcards (往復はがき, ōfuku-hagaki). New Year's Day postcards serve as greeting cards, similar to Western Christmas cards, while return postcards function similarly to

In Japan, official postcards have one side dedicated exclusively to the address, and the other side for the content, though commemorative picture postcards and private picture postcards also exist. In Japan today, two particular idiosyncratic postcard customs exist: New Year's Day postcards (年賀状, nengajō) and return postcards (往復はがき, ōfuku-hagaki). New Year's Day postcards serve as greeting cards, similar to Western Christmas cards, while return postcards function similarly to a self-addressed stamped envelope, allowing one to receive a reply without burdening the addressee with postage fees. Return postcards consist of a single double-size sheet, and cost double the price of a usual postcard – one addresses and writes one half as a usual postcard, writes one's own address on the return card, leaving the other side blank for the reply, then folds and sends. Return postcards are most frequently encountered by non-Japanese in the context of making reservations at certain locations that only accept reservations by return postcard, notably at Saihō-ji (moss temple). For overseas purposes, an international reply coupon is used instead.

In the State Standard of the Russian Federation "GOST 51507-99. Postal cards. Technical requirements. Methods of Control" (2000)[23] gives the following definition:

Post Card is a standard rectangular form of a paper for public postings. According to the same state standards, cards are classified according to the type and kind.

In 1894, British publishers were given permission by the PHQ Cards, popular with collectors, especially when they have the appropriate stamp affixed and a first day of issue postmark obtained.

In 1894, British publishers were given permission by the Royal Mail to manufacture and distribute picture postcards, which could be sent through the post. It was originally thought that the first UK postcards were produced by printing firm Stewarts of Edinburgh but later research, published in Picture Postcard Monthly in 1991, has shown that the first GB picture card was published by ETW Dennis of Scarborough.[25] Two postmarked examples of the September 1894 ETW Dennis card have survived but no cards of Stewarts dated 1894 have been found.[26] Early postcards were pictures of landmarks, scenic views, photographs or drawings of celebrities and so on. With steam locomotives providing fast and affordable travel, the seaside became a popular tourist destination, and generated its own souvenir-industry.

innuendo and double entendres, and traditionally featured stereotypical characters such as vicars, large ladies, and put-upon husbands, in the same vein as the Carry On films.

In the early 1950s, the newly elected Conservative government were concerned at the apparent deterioration of morals in Britain and decided on a crackdown on these postcards. The main target of their campaign was the postcard artist Donald McGill. In the more liberal 1960s, the saucy postcard was revived and later came to be considered, by some, as an art form.[27]

Original postcards are now highly sought after, and rare examples can command high prices at auction. The best-known saucy seaside postcards were created b

In the early 1950s, the newly elected Conservative government were concerned at the apparent deterioration of morals in Britain and decided on a crackdown on these postcards. The main target of their campaign was the postcard artist Donald McGill. In the more liberal 1960s, the saucy postcard was revived and later came to be considered, by some, as an art form.[27]

Original postcards are now highly sought after, and rare examples can command high prices at auction. The best-known saucy seaside postcards were created by a publishing company called Bamforths, based in the town of Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, England.

Despite the decline in popularity of postcards that are overtly 'saucy', postcards continue to be a significant economic and cultural aspect of British seaside tourism. Sold by newsagents and street vendors, as well as by specialist souvenir shops, modern seaside postcards often feature multiple depictions of the resort in unusually favourable weather conditions. British photographer John Hinde used saturated colour and meticulously planned his photographs, which made his postcards of the later twentieth century become collected and admired as kitsch. Such cards are also respected as important documents of social history, and have been influential on the work of Martin Parr.

There are several common motifs present in American postcard design, most shaped by production practices and laws in place at the time of production. These have been identified by deltiologists and grouped together into what are commonly referred to as eras or periods which describe a postcard's style or method of production. While features of these eras, such as a divided back, are present in other countries as well, the dates of production may differ. For example, "divided back" postcards were introduced to Great Britain in 1902, 5 years before the United States.[28] The golden age of postcards is commonly defined in the United States as starting around 1905, peaking between 1907 and 1910, and ending by World War I.[17][1][29] Listed here are eras of production for specific types of postcards, as typically defined by deltiologists. Most of the dates are not fixed dates, but approximate points in time as there was a lot of overlap in production.[2] These will be further elaborated upon in the following sections.

History

Pioneer era

Under an act passed by the U.S. Congress on February 27, 1861, privately printed ca

Others styles of postcards have fairly established dates of production as well. These are not typically referred to as eras, as they were never the predominate type at any given time.

Under an act passed by the U.S. Congress on February 27, 1861, privately printed cards (which weighed one ounce or less) were allowed to be sent as mail.[2] John P. Charlton copyrighted the first postcard in America that same year.[2] The rights to this card were later sold to Hymen L. Lipman, who began reissuing the cards under his name in 1870.[2] The U.S. Postmaster General John Creswell recommended to the U.S. Congress one-cent postal cards in November 1870.[1] Legislation was passed on June 8, 1872, which allowed the government to produce postal cards.[2]

By law, only government-issued postcards were allowed to say "Postal Card".[2] Privately printed postcards were still allowed but they were more expensive to mail (two-cent postage versus one-cent for government cards).[2] Backs of these private cards typically contained the words "Correspondence Card", "Mail Card" or "Souvenir Card".[7][2] The Morgan Envelope Factory of Springfield, Massachusetts claims to have produced the first American postcard in 1873.[45][46]

Political hold-ups including concerns by future President James Garfield (the Representative), delayed issuance of the official government postal.[1] Finally, it was issued in May 1873, and first went on sale in Springfield, Massachusetts on May 12th of that year.[1][2] According to The New York Times, postal clerks in the city sold 200,000 cards within 2.5 hours on May 14th.[1] Nationwide, 31 million postal cards were sold by the end of June 1873, and more than 64 million by the end of September.[1] The numbers only continued to grow through 1910.[1]

World's fairs

In response to the war-time shortages of ink, and the restrictions placed on importation, American publishers began producing larger quantities of postcards which featured a white border on the edges.[18] Although these were seen occasionally prior to the war, this design change allowed publishers to save ink and lowered the precision threshold for cutting the cards.[18] The "white border" era would last from about 1913 to 1930.[18] During this period, public tastes had changed and publishers began focusing more on scenic views, humor, fashion, and surrealism.[18]

Mid-century "linen" postcards were produced in great quantity from 1930 to 1945, although they continued to be produced more than a decade after the introduction of Photochrom cards.[18] Although these were seen occasionally prior to the war, this design change allowed publishers to save ink and lowered the precision threshold for cutting the cards.[18] The "white border" era would last from about 1913 to 1930.[18] During this period, public tastes had changed and publishers began focusing more on scenic views, humor, fashion, and surrealism.[18]

Mid-century "linen" postcards were produced in great quantity from 1930 to 1945, although they continued to be produced more than a decade after the introduction of Photochrom cards.[2] Despite the name, "linen" postcards were not p

Mid-century "linen" postcards were produced in great quantity from 1930 to 1945, although they continued to be produced more than a decade after the introduction of Photochrom cards.[2] Despite the name, "linen" postcards were not produced on a linen fabric, but used newer printing processes that used an inexpensive card stock with a high rag content, and were then finished with a pattern which resembled linen.[2] The face of the cards is distinguished by a textured cloth appearance which makes them easily recognizable. The reverse of the card is smooth, like earlier postcards. The rag content in the card stock allowed a much more colorful and vibrant image to be printed than the earlier "white border" style. Due to the inexpensive production and bright realistic images they became popular.

One of the better known "linen-era" postcard manufacturers was Curt Teich and Company, who first produced the immensely popular "large letter linen" postcards (among many others). The card design featured a large letter spelling of a state or place with smaller photos inside the letters. The design can still be found in many places today. Other manufacturers include Tichnor and Company, Haynes, Stanley Piltz, E.C. Kropp, and the Asheville Postcard Company. Cards printed by Curt Teich and Company typically included production numbers in the stamp box, which can be used for dating.[54]

By the late 1920s new colorants had been developed that were very enticing to the printing industry. Though they were best used as dyes to show off their brightness, this proved to be problematic. Where traditional pigment based inks would lie on a paper's surface, these thinner watery dyes had a tendency to be absorbed into a paper's fibers, where it lost its advantage of higher color density, leaving behind a dull blurry finish. To experience the rich colors of dyes light must be able to pass through them to excite their electrons. A partial solution was to combine these dyes with petroleum distillates, leading to faster drying heatset inks. But it was Curt Teich who finally solved the problem by embossing paper with a linen texture before printing. The embossing created more surface area, which allowed the new heatset inks to dry even faster. The quicker drying time allowed these dyes to remain on the paper's surface, thus retaining their superior strength, which give Linens their telltale bright colors. In addition to printing with the usual CYMK colors, a lighter blue was sometimes used to give the images extra punch. Higher speed presses could also accommodate this method, leading to its widespread use. Although first introduced in 1931, their growing popularity was interrupted by the outbreak of war. They were not to be printed in numbers again until the later 1940s, when the war effort ceased consuming most of the country’s resources. Even though the images on linen cards were based on photographs, they contained much handwork of the artists who brought them into production. There is of course nothing new in this; what it notable is that they were to be the last postcards to show any touch of the human hand on them. In their last days, many were published to look more like photo-based chrome cards that began to dominate the market. Textured papers for postcards had been manufactured ever since the turn of the century. But since this procedure was not then a necessary step in aiding card production, its added cost kept the process limited to a handful of publishers. Its original use most likely came from attempts to simulate the texture of canvas, thus relating the postcard to a painted work of fine art.[55]

A tinted (black-and-white image that has had colored tint added) souvenir card. Image of the Christopher Columbus taken circa 1896
World War II to present

The United States Postal Service defines a postcard as: rectangular, at least 3 12 inches (88.9 mm) high × 5 inches (127 mm) long × 0.007 inches (0.178 mm) thick and no more than 4 14 inches (108 mm) high × 6 inches (152.4 mm) long × 0.016 inches (0.406 mm) thick.[57] However, some postcards have deviated from this (for example, shaped postcards).

Controversies

Legalities and censorshipThe United States Postal Service defines a postcard as: rectangular, at least 3 12 inches (88.9 mm) high × 5 inches (127 mm) long × 0.007 inches (0.178 mm) thick and no more than 4 14 inches (108 mm) high × 6 inches (152.4 mm) long × 0.016 inches (0.406 mm) thick.[57] However, some postcards have deviated from this (for example, shaped postcards).

Controversies<

The initial appearance of picture postcards (and the enthusiasm with which the new medium was embraced) raised some legal issues. Picture postcards allowed and encouraged many individuals to send images across national borders, and the legal availability of a postcard image in one country did not guarantee that the card would be considered "proper" in the destination country, or in the intermediate countries that the card would have to pass through. Some countries might refuse to handle postcards containing sexual references (in seaside postcards) or images of full or partial nudity (for instance, in images of classical statuary or paintings). For example, the United States Postal Service would only allow the delivery of postcards showing a back view of naked men from Britain if their posteriors were covered with a black bar.[58] Early postcards often showcased photography of nude women. Illegal to produce in the United States, these were commonly known as French postcards, due to the large number of them produced in France. Other countries objected to the inappropriate use of religious imagery. The Ottoman Empire banned the sale or importation of some materials relating to the Islamic prophet Muhammad in 1900. Affected postcards that were successfully sent through the Ottoman Empire before this date (and are postmarked accordingly) have a high rarity value and are considered valuable by collectors.

Lynchings

In 1873, the Comstock Act was passed in the United States, which banned the publication of "obscene ma

In 1873, the Comstock Act was passed in the United States, which banned the publication of "obscene matter as well as its circulation in the mails".[59] In 1908, §3893 was added to the Comstock Act, stating that the ban included material "tending to incite arson, murder, or assassination".[59] Although this act did not explicitly ban lynching photographs or postcards, it banned the explicit racist texts and poems inscribed on certain prints. According to some, these texts were deemed "more incriminating" and caused their removal from the mail instead of the photograph itself because the text made "too explicit what was always implicit in lynchings".[59] Some towns imposed "self-censorship" on lynching photographs, but section 3893 was the first step towards a national censorship.[59] Despite the amendment, the distribution of lynching photographs and postcards continued. Though they were not sold openly, the censorship was bypassed when people sent the material in envelopes or mail wrappers.[60]

World War I

Censorship pla

Censorship played an important role in the First World War.[61] Each country involved utilized some form of censorship. This was a way to sustain an atmosphere of ignorance and give propaganda a chance to succeed.[61] In response to the war, the United States Congress passed the Espionage Act of 1917 and Sedition Act of 1918. These gave broad powers to the government to censor the press through the use of fines, and later any criticism of the government, army, or sale of war bonds.[61] The Espionage Act laid the groundwork for the establishment of a Central Censorship Board which oversaw censorship of communications including cable and mail.[61]

Postal control was eventually introduced in all of the armies, to find the disclosure of military secrets and test the morale of soldiers.[61] In Allied countries, civilians were also subjected to censorship.[61]Postal control was eventually introduced in all of the armies, to find the disclosure of military secrets and test the morale of soldiers.[61] In Allied countries, civilians were also subjected to censorship.[61] French censorship was modest and more targeted compared to the sweeping efforts made by the British and Americans.[61] In Great Britain, all mail was sent to censorship offices in London or Liverpool.[61] The United States sent mail to several centralized post offices as directed by the Central Censorship Board.[61] American censors would only open mail related to Spain, Latin America or Asia--as their British allies were handling other countries.[61] In one week alone, the San Antonio post office processed more than 75,000 letters, of which they controlled 77 percent (and held 20 percent for the following week).[61]

Soldiers on the front developed strategies to circumvent censors.[62] Some would go on "home leave" and take messages with them to post from a remote location.[62] Those writing postcards in the field knew they were being censored, and deliberately held back controversial content and personal matters.[62] Those writing home had a few options including free, government-issued field postcards, cheap, picture postcards, and embroidered cards meant as keepsakes.[63] Unfortunately, censors often disapproved of picture postcards.[63] In one case, French censors reviewed 23,000 letters and destroyed only 156 (although 149 of those were illustrated postcards).[63] Censors in all warring countries also filtered out propaganda that disparaged the enemy or approved of atrocities.[61] For example, German censors prevented postcards with hostile slogans such as "Jeder Stoß ein Franzos" ("Every hit a Frenchman") among others.[61]

Postcards document the natural landscape as well as the built environment--buildings, gardens, parks, cemeteries, and tourist sites. They provide snapshots of societies at a time when few newspapers carried images.[14] Postcards provided a way for the general public to keep in touch with their friends and family, and required little writing.[14] Anytime there was a major event, a postcard photographer was there to document it (including celebrations, disasters, political movements, and even wars).[14] Commemorating popular humor, entertainment, fashion, and many other aspects of daily life, they also shed light on transportation, sports, work, religion, and advertising.[14] Cards were sent to convey news of death and birth, store purchases, and employment.[14]

As a primary source, postcards are incredibly important to the types of historical research conducted by historians, historic preservationists, and genealogists alike. They give insight into both the physical world, and the social world of the time. During their heyday postcards revolutionized communication, similar to

As a primary source, postcards are incredibly important to the types of historical research conducted by historians, historic preservationists, and genealogists alike. They give insight into both the physical world, and the social world of the time. During their heyday postcards revolutionized communication, similar to social media of today.[8] For those studying communication, they highlight the adoption of media, its adaptation, and its ultimate discarding.[8] Postcards have been used to study topics as diverse as theatre, racial attitudes, and war.[64][16][65]

Libraries, archives, and museums have extensive collections of picture postcards; many of the postcards in these collections are digitized[66] Efforts are continuously being made by professionals in these fields to digitize these materials to make them more widely accessible to the public. For those interested, there are already several large collections viewable online. Some large digital collections of postcards include:

  • OldNYC (New York Public Library)
  • Digital Collections (New York Public Library)
    • These collections include the Detroit Publishin

      It is likely that postcard collecting first began as soon as postcards were mailed. One could argue that actual collecting began with the acquisition of souvenir postcards from the world's fairs, which were produced specifically with the collector (souvenir hunter) in mind.[14] Later, during the golden age of postcards, collecting became a mainstream craze.[14] The frenzy of purchasing, mailing, and collecting postcards was often referred to as "postcarditis", with up to half purchased by collectors.[67][17] Clubs such as The Jolly Jokers, The Society for the Promulgation of Post Cards, and the Post Card Union sprang up to facilitate postcard exchanges, each having thousands of members.[15] Postcard albums were commonly seen in Victorian parlors, and had a place of prominence in many middle and upper class households.[14]

      Today, postcard collecting is still a popular and wide-spread hobby. The value of a postcard is mainly determined by the image illustrated on it. Other important factors for collectors can be countries, issuers, and authors. Online catalogs can be found on collector websites and clubs.[68] These catalogs provide detailed information about each postcard alongside their picture. In addition, these websites include collection management tools, trading platforms, and forums to assist with discussions between collectors. The oldest continuously run club in the United States is the Metropolitan Postcard Club of New York City, founded in 1946.[69]

      Glossary of terminology

      Most of the terms on this list were devised by modern collectors to describe cards in their possession. For the most part, these terms were not used contemporaneously by publishers or others in the industry.

      3D Postcard
      Postcards with artwork that appears in 3D. This can be done with different techniques, such as [68] These catalogs provide detailed information about each postcard alongside their picture. In addition, these websites include collection management tools, trading platforms, and forums to assist with discussions between collectors. The oldest continuously run club in the United States is the Metropolitan Postcard Club of New York City, founded in 1946.[69]

      Most of the terms on this list were devised by modern collectors to describe cards in their possession. For the most part, these terms were not used contemporaneously by publishers or others in the industry.

      3D Postcard
      Postcards with artwork that appears in 3D. This can be done with different techniques, such as lenticular printing or hologram.
      Advertising Postcard
      S

      Entry of the Great Mosque of Kairouan, postcard from 1900

  • Richmond, Virginia, c. late 1923. The intersection shown is at 8th & Broad Streets.

  • Hawaiian Aloha nui Postcard c. 1908

  • German postcard with inscription "This beer belongs to my master!"

  • Julian Mandel: Marionnette à fils

  • Gruss aus-type postcard, published by the Munich based German printing house Purger & Co.



  • See also

    References

    1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak United States Postal Service (September 2014). "Stamped Cards and Postcards" (PDF). United States Postal Service. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2019-08-26. Retrieved 2020-03-31.