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Postcards: A Forgotten Art?

Before social media was a major part of human communication, postcards were a way for people to let their friends and family know they were thinking of them while on holiday. And while postcards certainly aren’t as common as they used to be, they’re definitely still in circulation. In a world everything seems as easy as the click of a button, taking the time for a handwritten postcard is extra special. In this week’s article, we’re going to be delving deeper into the history of the postcard to understand what makes them so symbolic today.

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The birth of the postcard

While postcards have existed in various forms since as early as the 1840s, it wasn’t until 1861 that they became commercially available. H L Lipman bought the patent for postcards, and Lipman’s Postal Cards was born. Plain, with a decorative border, these postcards paved the way for the modern postcard, with the message on one side, the address on the other.

The twentieth century

By the Edwardian era of the early 1900s, the postcard craze had truly taken off. Postcards had become a form of social networking- in many ways similar to social networking messages today! When the war struck in 1914, soldiers sent postcards from the front to their loved ones back home. Many historians argue that, in a war that birthed The Great Depression, these postcards were vital for the morale of both soldiers and those at home. From the 1920s onward, postcards increasingly nestled into the cultural landscape around humour, from joke cards to saucy imagery in the 1980s.

Are postcards still relevant?

Ultimately, the answer to this question lies with you. There are some that no longer see a purpose for postcards for various reasons. But given the way postcards have dipped in and out of popularity for the 150 years that they’ve formally existed, it’s probable they’re here to stay.

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