December 1989

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Early Postcards

More Than Pictures


Thomas Dimitroff

Picture postcards today are sent by tourists to show their friends what they have seen on their travels. Not so in the late 1800s and early 1900s! Those were different times, times that pre-dated the easy communications and amazing mobility of our day.

The postcards of these earlier times were important (and affordable) means of communication. They were not limited to pretty views, but were reflections of communities, their people, and their activities. Some were not views at all—they were greetings with wreaths, bells and angels for Christmas; Indians and turkeys for Thanksgiving; and, flags, firecrackers, and famous Presidents for patriotic holidays.

Through old postcards we can reach into the past and savor it, to some degree, through the perspective of those who lived through it. This is a wonderful opportunity, one we shouldn't overlook.

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