More on Real Photo Postcards

Real Photo Postcards were popular from the very early 20th century to as late as the 1950s.  Negatives of family photos would be sent out to photography houses which would print them up as postcards. Thus, they could be mailed to distant family and friends. The real photo postcard trend was not limited to family photos. In the early twentieth century free-lance postcard photographers roamed the world taking photos of all kinds of places and things and were paid by postcard publishers for their negatives. Some of these photographers had their own small postcard publishing businesses. These commercially-sold real photo postcards often have white hand-written captions identifying their subjects. The white writing is part of the photograph (the result of the photographer’s using a black marking pencil on the negative, which gets reversed and becomes white in the positive print).

Real Photo Postcard-Freelance Photographer

Real Photo Postcard-Freelance Photographer

Though family portraits are probably the most common type of real photo postcard, the most valuable real photo postcards contain images of unusual and uncommon glimpses into early twentieth century life:

  • people engaged in occupational activities such as working on roads, in blacksmith shops, on ships, or in any walk of life
  • people in uniform– particularly military
  • unusual images of animals
  • images of early farm equipment such as tractors
  • images of transportation including horses and buggies, early cars, boats, trains and airplanes
  • images of post-disaster damage including famous tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes
  • images of sports including teams, players and game being played
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