The Power of the Postcard

When you’re on vacation, it’s always nice to think of loved ones at home who aren’t on the trip with you. With all the available options for communications in this modern, digitized world, mailing a letter seems like the least beneficial option. Sure, you may text a loved one and share photos and videos, but there is a level of intimacy via postcard.

  • If you go on vacation, you can use postcards as a travel journal. Send postcards to yourself after experiencing something memorable. This way, you can always look at the card in the future and put yourself right back in the moment again.
  • A study published in Psychological Science journal discovered that you’re more likely to remember something if you write it down on paper than if you type it on a computer.

Stories share lessons

SPOILER ALERT – If you have not seen the movie, Abominable, skip this section, but know it is the most important reason why postcards are important. If you have seen the movie, the movie could be call postcards from father to daughter. In the movie, Yi, the protagonist, unknowingly follows her dead father’s footsteps through postcards that detail some of his greatest adventures and his desires to have the same adventures with his daughter by his side.

  • We live in the digital age – sure, I can post my photos on Instagram and show you what I did. Some photos may never get published online, which means that many stories won’t be told and, most importantly, shared. I can tell you how much I loved Spain in an online post but who writes a long caption nowadays. How will you know that I found a good restaurant that made me walked 4 miles 2 times? How will you know the difference between, we should go together, versus, the more and more I was having fun, the more I was thinking of how much fun we would have together.
  • You can argue that the back of a postcard forces you to fill out the back entirely, which may or may not be easy for some people who are not used to writing. When you write to someone, it has to mean. Tell the person you are writing to them because this photo or this experience reminded you of them. Likewise, if you are writing to yourself, who did you meet, what did you see.

Historical preservation of Postcards

Previous generations used to communicate by letter, and it seems to have become a lost art. Sending an email or picking up the phone to make a call may get the message across, but it doesn’t have the same intimacy as picking up a pen and committing words to paper. Writing postcards may seem like an old-fashioned choice, but it can teach us some wonderful lessons.

  • Modern postcards can be compared to hundreds of years ago to learn more about lifestyles back then. Postcards portray how people used to dress versus the present.
  • Architecture is another aspect of why people collect postcards. Buildings today have changed from those of the past, which you could see using these architectural postcards.

Fun History Lesson

The first postal card was suggested by Dr. Emanuel Herrmann, in 1869 and was accepted by the Austrian-Hungarian government in the same year. The first regularly printed card appeared in 1870, a historical card produced connected with the Franco-German War. The first advertising card appeared in 1872 in Great Britain. Cards showing the Eiffel Tower appeared in 1889. A Heligoland card of 1889 is considered to be the first multi-colored card ever printed.

In the USA, the earliest known exposition card appeared in 1873, showing the main building of the Inter-State Industrial Exposition in Chicago, and was meant to advertise the event. This card and other early advertising cards usually bore vignette designs and were not originally intended for souvenirs. All privately printed cards required the regular two-cent letter rate postage during this period, whereas the official USA government printed postcards required only one cent.

Since postcards began, been the mainstay of the collecting field, people have long collected and traded cards of their home towns and places they have visited. View cards offer historical reference to buildings, streets, and even towns that may no longer exist or have changed significantly over time. Even views produced in the photochrome (modern chrome) era may no longer look the same. The earliest cards offer much in the social history of the times as we look at early forms of travel and the beginnings of the telegraph, telephone, and power lines. The messages written on the cards often give us insight into the picture shown or the day’s sentiments.

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