After locating all of the postcards for the exhibit, I had to digitize and catalog most of them. This task was not particularly tricky, until it came to determining the date of our postcards, because many of them are unused. Some of you may remember my blog post from last summer about dating unused postcards - the new postcard exhibit has an even more thorough guide for dating postcards! The Dating Guide contains detailed information about postcard size and postage, as well as references to other resources, including our guide to Postcard History. The history guide in the new exhibit contains information about the styles and trends of the postcard industry. Particularly fascinating to me are the early stages of postcard development, and how different some of these postcards are from those that we use today. For example, during the Private Mailing Card and Post Card periods (collectively 1898-1907), most postcards did not have space for a message! One side of the card was designated as exclusively for the recipient's address, and the other side typically contained an image, leaving no room for a message from the sender. There were exceptions to this seemingly strange feature of postcards, but you will have to read the Postcard History to find out about them!
We are excited to have the new version of the exhibit up, and we hope that you will enjoy the additions and improvements that we made - let us know what you think!
- Greetings from the Smithsonian: A Postcard History of the Smithsonian, online exhibition, Smithsonian Institution Archives
- The Mystery of the Undated Postcards, The Bigger Picture blog, Smithsonian Institution Archives