Now that Thanksgiving 2013 has come and gone, we begin preparing for the remainder of the holiday season. Many of us are decking the halls, beginning to bake holiday treats, and preparing for holiday gift giving. Also during this time of year, many of us send out holiday cards to family and friends. Before Hallmark and American Greetings began manufacturing greeting cards, seasonal greetings were sent through the mail using postcards.
Postcards have been around since the 1860s. The earliest postcards were privately issued through the United States Postal Department (USPD) and did not catch on right away because many people felt that it was improper to send messages on the back of a card that “anyone” could see and read. Once people realized how inexpensive it was to send postcards, their popularity increased. The earliest postcards did not have any photographs on them. Instead of a photograph, you find writing on the side of the card where normally you would see an image.
On May 19, 1898, an Act of Congress allowed publishers of privately printed mailing cards to sell them to the general public and allowing these cards to be mailed at the same one cent postage as those sold by the United States Postal Department. After the 1907 law was passed which permitted writing on the address side of the card, picture postcards soared in popularity! Over the next decade, postcard collecting became a common hobby in almost every household.
Over the next four weeks, I will share some images of early twentieth century postcards that were part of my grandparents’ (Errett and Hazel (Kimble) Motter) collection. While these postcards that I will be sharing with you do not have a direct historical connection with Yellow Springs, I would guess that postcards very similar to these were sent from and received by many Yellow Springs households.
This week’s postcard is circa 1909 and features an angel giving a doll to two young girls. I especially love the lighted candles on the Christmas tree! I can’t imagine that the open flames of the candles were particularly safe, but obviously this was long before the days of strings of Christmas lights!