Thursday, March 17, 2016

Paper Trail: Postcards

What’s the official name for postcard collecting? Deltiology. Postcards are the third-largest collectible, behind coins and stamps according to the Flea Market Style magazine. Postcards reflect history and cultural customs with pictures that depict buildings, travel destinations, advertising, and photographs of people like your ancestors.

To date old postcards, therefore getting the approximate date your ancestral photograph might have been taken, this list gives the general times as to when these type of cards became available or were popular.

US Post Cards -- to 1898

Private Mailing Cards (1898-1901)

Undivided Back (1901-1907)

Divided Back (1907-1915)

White Border (1915-1930)

Linen (1930-1945)

Chrome (1939-Present)

Real Photo Postcards (1900-Present)
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I compiled a "Paper Postcard Unit Study" for our son when he was homeschooled. Click here if you would like to review it.
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Update (2017): There is another Postcard Show that came to Lenexa, KS in 2017. My hubby and I went to one in Lenexa several years ago and I could not believe the variety of postcards that were being sold. In addition to the historic genre, they had artsy postcards and papers as well. Check out this website for other shows being held near you. You might just find a missing relative's photo, a photo of their business, the church they attended, or an event they participated in just like the postcard we found on vacation below. This mountain in Colorado was named for one of my hubby's distant Stout cousins, Zebulon Montgomery Pike. To read a short biography of his life, click here.

Update (2018): I ran across this YouTube video of postcards from Fitchburg, Massachusetts where a girlfriend grew up! 

D. Noble. Cooper Post Card Co., Colorado Springs, CO, USA.


  1. Very informative post. Thanks for taking the time to share your view with us.

  2. I used to collect these to use to make greeting cards. Yes, there is a Huge variety available. Post card shows were as fun as any flea market...for me anyway! Thank you, I like the list of different types too!


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