Prior to May 19, 1898, postcards were primarily the domain of the United States Postal Service, which had been issuing pre-stamped, one-cent cards since 1873. These cards were mostly unadorned. While pivate companies did issue cards during this time--predominantly as advertisements--they required a two-cent stamp, making them the same price as a letter, and, thus, impractical and unpopular.
In 1898, Congress decided to allow privately printed cards to go out for the one-cent rate. To distinguish these cards from government issue, they were marked "Private Mailing Card." Until 1907, the back of the card was reserved exclusively for the recipient's address. Only a small white band below the illustration on the front could be used for a message, making it the Twitter of its day. These brief messages are often nothing more than "Hope you are well," "Wish you were here," or, simply, "Received your card," which makes one wonder if some cards went back and forth in an endless loop.
In 1907, Congress agreed to allow both the message and the address on the back of the card, creating the postcard format that we know today.
* * * *
See more of our collection in
To get RSS feeds from this blog, point your reader to this link.
Find us on Facebook.
To subscribe via email, follow this link.
Or, follow us on Twitter.