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Encyclopedia > Postcard
British postal card, used in 1890
Example of a court card, postmarked 1899, showing Robert Burns and his cottage and monument in Ayr


A postcard or post card is a rectangular piece of thick paper or thin cardboard intended for writing and mailing without an envelope and at a lower rate than a letter. Stamp collectors distinguish between postcards (which require a stamp) and postal cards (which have the postage pre-printed on them). While a postcard is usually printed by a private company, individual or organization, a postal card is issued by the relevant postal authority. The United States Postal Service defines a postcard as: rectangular, at least 3-½ inches high x 5 inches long x .007 inch thick and no more than 4-¼ inches high x 6 inches long x .016 inches thick;[1] however, some postcards have deviated from this (for example, shaped postcards). For the computer diagnostic tool, see Postcard (computing). ... Independent record label founded by Alan Horne in Glasgow, 1979. ... Image File history File links Postal_card_UK_1890. ... Image File history File links Postal_card_UK_1890. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... For the chain gang fugitive and author from Georgia, see Robert Elliott Burns. ... -1... For other uses, see Paper (disambiguation). ... Card Stock is a stiff or rigid paper stock. ... Front of an envelope mailed in the U.S. in 1906 contains postage stamp and address. ... For other uses, see Letter (disambiguation). ... Stamp collecting is the collecting of postage stamps and related objects, such as envelopes (cover)s. ... A selection of Hong Kong postage stamps A postage stamp is evidence of pre-paying a fee for postal services. ... For other uses, see Mail (disambiguation). ... USPS and Usps redirect here. ...


The study and collecting of postcards is termed deltiology. Deltiology is the study and collection of postcards. ...


In the art world the postcard can also be translated into an art object. The art form is called mail art. Mail art is art which uses the postal system as a medium. ...

Contents

Brief history of postcards in the United States

Greetings from Pikes Peak, Colorado: A "large-letter" style American postcard from the linen era

John P. Charlton of Philadelphia patented the postcard in 1861, selling the rights to H. L. Lipman, whose postcards, complete with a decorated border, were labeled "Lipman's postal card." Nine years later European countries were also producing postcards. Postcard Example This image is in the public domain in the United States and possibly other jurisdictions. ... Postcard Example This image is in the public domain in the United States and possibly other jurisdictions. ... This article is about the mountain in Colorado. ... For other uses, see Philadelphia (disambiguation) and Philly. ...



The United States Postal Service began issuing pre-stamped postal cards in 1873. The postal cards came about because the public was looking for an easier way to send quick notes. The USPS was the only establishment allowed to print postcards, and it held its monopoly until May 19, 1898, when Congress passed the Private Mailing Card Act which allowed private publishers and printers to produce postcards.

Message on the front of a 1905 'undivided back' post card

Initially, the United States government prohibited private companies from calling their cards “postcards,” so they were known as “souvenir cards.” Although, in 1901, this prohibition was rescinded, not until 1908 could people write on the address side of a postcard. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ...


The first postcard in the United States was created in 1893 to advertise the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Shortly thereafter the United States government, via the United States Postal Service, allowed printers to publish a 1-cent postcard (the "Penny Postcard"). A correspondent's writing was allowed only on the front side of these cards. Year 1893 (MDCCCXCIII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Tuesday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... One-third scale replica of Daniel Chester Frenchs Republic, which stood in the great basin at the exposition, Chicago, 2004 The Worlds Columbian Exposition (also called The Chicago Worlds Fair), a Worlds Fair, was held in Chicago in 1893, to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher... Nickname: Motto: Urbs in Horto (Latin: City in a Garden), I Will Location in the Chicago metro area and Illinois Coordinates: , Country State Counties Cook, DuPage Settled 1770s Incorporated March 4, 1837 Government  - Mayor Richard M. Daley (D) Area  - City  234. ... The government of the United States, established by the United States Constitution, is a federal republic of 50 states, a few territories and some protectorates. ... USPS and Usps redirect here. ...

Back of the above 1905 card

Postcards, in the form of government postal cards and privately printed souvenir cards, became very popular as a result of the Columbian Exposition, held in Chicago in 1893, after postcards featuring buildings were distributed at the fair. In 1908, more than 677 million postcards were mailed. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Year 1893 (MDCCCXCIII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Tuesday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ...


1901 brought cards with the word "Post Card" printed on the reverse (the side without the picture). Written messages were still restricted to the front side, with the entire back dedicated to the address. This "undivided back" is what gives this postcard era its name. Year 1901 (MCMI) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Monday [1] of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ...

American 'divided back' postcard, 1916

The "divided back" card, with space for a message on the address side, came into use in the United States in 1907. The back is divided into two sections, the left section being used for the message and the right for the address. Thus began the Golden Age of American postcards, which lasted until about 1915, when World War I blocked the import of the fine German-printed cards. Image File history File links Freudenberg_ArthurOscar_02. ... Image File history File links Freudenberg_ArthurOscar_02. ... Year 1907 (MCMVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Monday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... Year 1915 (MCMXV) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Thursday[1] of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... “The Great War ” redirects here. ...

A tinted (black and white image which has had colored tint addded) souvenir card. Image of the Christopher Columbus taken circa 1896

The "white border" era, named for obvious reasons, lasted from about 1916 to 1930. The "linen card" era lasted from about 1931 to the early 1950's, when cards were primarily printed on papers with a textured surface similar to linen cloth. The last and current postcard era, which began about 1939, is the "chrome" era, however these didn't begin to dominate until about 1950. The images on these cards are generally based on colored photographs, and are readily identified by the glossy appearance given by the paper's coating. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... The S.S. Christopher Columbus was a whaleback excursion liner designed by Alexander McDougall. ... 1916 (MCMXVI) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar). ... Year 1930 (MCMXXX) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display 1930 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1931 (MCMXXXI) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display full 1931 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1939 (MCMXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ...


In France, erotic postcards appeared in 1910.


In 1973 the British Post Office introduced a new type of card, PHQ Cards, these have since become a popular collecting area, especially when they have the appropriate stamp affixed and a First day of issue postmark obtained. // PHQ Cards are postcards depicting the design of a commemorative stamp issued by the British Post Office. ... // The hobby of collecting consists of acquiring specific items based on a particular interest of the collector. ... First Day Cover for the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer, issued 22nd July 1981. ... An example of a postmark A postmark is a postal marking made on a letter, package, postcard or the like indicating the (more or less precise) date and time that the item was delivered into the care of the postal service. ...


British seaside postcards

In 1894, British publishers were given permission by the Royal Mail to manufacture and distribute picture postcards, which could be sent through the post. Early postcards were pictures of famous 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: the picture postcard was, and is, an essential staple of this industry. 1894 (MDCCCXCIV) was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... Royal Mail is the national postal service of the United Kingdom. ... Great Western Railway No. ... The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view. ...

A typical "saucy" postcard by Donald McGill

In the early 1930s, cartoon-style saucy postcards became widespread, and at the peak of their popularity the sale of saucy postcards reached a massive 16 million a year. They were often bawdy in nature, making use of 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 on their hit list was the renowned postcard artist Donald McGill. In the more liberal 1960s, the saucy postcard was revived and became to be considered, by some, as an art form. This helped its popularity and once again they became an institution. However, during the 1970s and 1980s, the quality of the artwork and humour started to deteriorate and, with changing attitudes towards the cards' content, the demise of the saucy postcard occurred. 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. The use of saturated colour, and a general departure from realism, have made the 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. Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (620x920, 51 KB)A postcard used in the prosecution of Donald McGill on 15 July 1954 in Lincoln. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (620x920, 51 KB)A postcard used in the prosecution of Donald McGill on 15 July 1954 in Lincoln. ... One of the cards used in evidence against McGill in 1954 Donald Fraser Gould McGill, (January 28, 1875 – October 13, 1962) was an English graphic artist whose name has become synonymous with a whole genre of saucy seaside postcards that were sold mostly in small shops in British coastal towns. ... The 1930s (years from 1930–1939) were described as an abrupt shift to more radical and conservative lifestyles, as countries were struggling to find a solution to the Great Depression, also known as the World Depression. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... A double entendre is a figure of speech similar to the pun, in which a spoken phrase can be understood in either of two ways. ... For other uses, see Stereotype (disambiguation). ... The Carry On films were a long-running series of British low-budget comedy films, directed by Gerald Thomas and produced by Peter Rogers. ... the first thing that was invented was the automatic DILDO. Education grew explosively because of a very strong demand for high school and college education. ... The Conservative Party (officially the Conservative and Unionist Party) is currently the second largest political party in the United Kingdom in terms of sitting Members of Parliament (MPs), the largest in terms of public membership, and the oldest political party in the United Kingdom. ... One of the cards used in evidence against McGill in 1954 Donald Fraser Gould McGill, (January 28, 1875 – October 13, 1962) was an English graphic artist whose name has become synonymous with a whole genre of saucy seaside postcards that were sold mostly in small shops in British coastal towns. ... The 1960s decade refers to the years from 1960 to 1969. ... The 1970s decade refers to the years from 1970 to 1979, also called The Seventies. ... The 1980s refers to the years from 1980 to 1989. ... Bamforth & Co were a publishing, film and illustration company based in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, England. ... Holmfirth is a small town located in the Holme Valley parish, in the Kirklees district of West Yorkshire, England. ... Coat of Arms of South Yorkshire West Yorkshire is a metropolitan county within the Yorkshire and the Humber region of England, that has a population of 2. ... For other uses, see England (disambiguation). ... ... For other uses, see Realism (disambiguation). ... Kitsch is a term of German origin that has been used to categorize art that is considered an inferior copy of an existing style. ... ŅSocial history is an area of historical study considered by some to be a social science that attempts to view historical evidence from the point of view of developing social trends. ... Martin Parr (born 1952) is a British documentary photographer and photojournalist. ...


Early Controversy

The initial appearance of picture postcards (and the enthusiasm with which the new medium was embraced) raised some legal issues that can be seen as precursors to later controversies over the internet. 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).


In response to this new phenomenon, the Ottoman Empire banned the sale or importation of some materials relating to the Prophet Mohammed in 1900. Affected postcards that were successfully sent through the OE before this date (and are postmarked accordingly) have a high rarity value and are considered valuable by collectors. Ottoman redirects here. ... Muhammad (Arabic محمد, also transliterated Mohammad, Mohammed, and formerly Mahomet, following the Latin) is revered by Muslims as the final prophet of God. ...


Glossary of postcard terms

A historic postcard showing electric trolley-powered streetcars in Richmond, Virginia, where Frank J. Sprague successfully demonstrated his new system on the hills in 1888. The intersection shown is at 8th & Broad Streets.

Applique - A term used to describe a postcard which has some form of cloth, metal or other embelishment attached to it.
Art Deco - Artistic style of the 1920s, recognisable by its symmetrical designs and straight lines.
Art Nouveau - Artistic style of the turn of the century, charachterised by flowing lines and flowery symbols, yet often depicting impressionist more than representational art.
Bas Relief - Postcards with a heavily raised surface, giving a papier-mache appearance.
Composites - A number of individual cards, that when placed together in a group, form a larger picture.
Court Cards - The official size for British postcards between 1894-1899, measuring 115mm x 89mm.
Divided Back - Postcards with a back divided into two sections, one for the message, the other for the address. British cards were first divided in 1902 and American cards in 1907.
Early - A term loosely used to describe any card issued before the Divided Back was introduced.
Embossed - Postcards with a raised surface.
Hold-to-Light- Also referred to as 'HTL', postcards often of a night time scene with cut out areas to show the light.
Intermediate Size - The link between Court Cards and Standard Size, measuring 130mm x 80mm.
Kaleodoscopes - Postcards with a rotating wheel that reveals a myriad of colours when turned.
Midget Postcards - Novelty cards of the size 90mm x 70mm.
Novelty - Any postcard which deviates in any way from the norm. Cards which do something, or have articles attached to them, or are printed in an unusual size or on strange materials. An example is cards made of leather
Oilette - A trade name used by Raphael Tuck to describe postcards reproduced from original paintings.
Real Photographic - Abbreviated to 'RP'. Used to describe postcards produced by a photographic rather than a printing process.
Reward Cards - Cards that were given away to school children for good work.
Standard Size - Introduced in Britain in November 1899, measuring 140mm x 89mm.
Topographical - A term used to describe postcards showing street scenes and general views.
Undivided Back - Describes postcards with a plain back where all of this space was used for the address. This is a term often used to describe Early cards, although undivided were still in common use up until 1907.
Vignette - Usually found on undivided back cards, consisting of a design which does not occupy the whole of the picture side. Vignettes may be anything from a small sketch in one corner of the card, to a design cover three quarters of the card. The purpose is to leave some space for the message to be written, as the entire reverse of the card could only be used for the address.
Write-Away - Used to describe a card with the opening line of a sentence, which the sender would then complete. Often found on early comic cards. 8th & Broad Streets, Richmond, Virginia The two-dimensional work of art depicted in this image is in the public domain in the United States. ... 8th & Broad Streets, Richmond, Virginia The two-dimensional work of art depicted in this image is in the public domain in the United States. ... Richmond refers to various place names, schools and universities, people, and other uses around the world. ... This article is about the U.S. state. ... Frank Julian Sprague (1857-1934) American inventor, Father of Electric Traction Frank Julian Sprague (1857–1934) was an American naval officer and inventor who contributed to the development of the electric motor, electric railways, and electric elevators. ... Example of a court card, postmarked 1899, showing Robert Burns and his cottage and monument in Ayr Court card or court sized card was the name given to a size of picture postcard, mainly used in the United Kingdom, which predates the standard size of 5. ...


See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Wikisource has original text related to this article:

Image File history File links Commons-logo. ... Image File history File links Wikisource-logo. ... The original Wikisource logo. ... Greeting cards on display at retail. ... An e-card is similar to a postcard or greeting card, with the primary difference being it is created using digital media instead of paper or other traditional materials. ... Postcrossing is a project, inspired by Bookcrossing, designed to allow people to receive postcards from all over the world. ... In 1903 Kodak introduced the No. ... An advertising postcard also known as a free card or an ad card is a postcard which is designed and used to advertise or raise awareness of a company, service or cause. ... Francis Frith. ... // PHQ Cards are postcards depicting the design of a commemorative stamp issued by the British Post Office. ... James Valentine was a well-known photographer of Dundee, Scotland. ... Screenshot of PostSecret with an example postcard. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Postcard Direct (0 words)
Postcard Direct is different to all other postcard systems because it sends the postcard directly to the recipient.
Keeps a full log of all postcards sent allowing you to see which features and options are most popular and to better tailor the design for the users needs.
This is the most common setup for postcards, where the user chooses a postcard to send from a set of thumbnails.
Postcard - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (482 words)
A postcard or post card is a typically rectangular piece of thick paper or thin cardboard intended for writing and mailing without an envelope and at a lower rate than a letter.
While a postcard is usually printed by a private company, individual or organization, a postal card is issued by the relevant postal authority.
The first postcard in the United States was created in 1893 to advertise the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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