February 29th, 2008
Broughton Street Looking West, Savannah, Ga.
The Savannah Postcard Collection, MS 016, consists of 80 postcards of the Savannah area. The postcards in this collection date from 1904-1968, though many are undated. The bulk of the collection dates from between 1905-1915. The subject of the collection is predominantly of Savannah buildings, street scenes, and monuments. Since many of these buildings have been preserved, but have been repurposed, it is interesting to see them in their original form.
Some Postcard History:
The first postal type card in the Unites States was privately printed and copyrighted in 1861 by J. P. Carlton. The copyright was transferred to H. L. Lipman. “Lipman Postal Cards,” as they came to be known, were sold until replaced in 1873. At that time, the only entity allowed to print a card defined as a Post Card was the United States Postal Service. They issued stamped Post Cards that were mostly blank on the front. The back was reserved for the address only. In Europe, however, the picture postcard was evolving. Advertising cards and cards commemorating events became popular.
During the Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, the Government issued Post Cards with images of the buildings and views of the exposition and postage of one cent printed on the back. Private vendors also created souvenir cards, but these required two cent postage. Cards from this era with pictures on the front often also had the message written on the front as well because the back was reserved for the address. It wasn’t until 1907 that the divided back allowed the message and the address to appear on the same side. In 1898, the Private Mailing Card Act reduced the postage of the privately published cards to one cent and generated a post card boom.
Following World War I, the post card industry declined somewhat. Most of the best quality cards had been produced in Germany. Cards produced in the United States during this time had a white border to save on the cost of ink. The post card was still predominantly in black and white, but there were companies in France and Belgium that produced Hand Tinted cards.
Around 1930, the Linen card became popular. These were printed on a rag paper with a linen-like texture. Brightly colored dyes were possible with this type of printing process and the cards were inexpensive to produce. Photochrome and other chrome processes came along after 1939 and are still the processes in use today. They are in color and of high photo quality.