The United States Congress first allowed the mailing of postcards in February 1861. There was an outcry that the government would lose money on this venture, as well as concern over the lack of privacy postcards offered. With the start of the Civil War in April these minor worries were quickly forgotten though.
the next 40 years Congress made several changes to postcard laws regulating
government “Postal Cards” and privately printed Correspondence, Mail or Souvenir
Cards. These laws set the size and design of both types of cards. Privately published cards with messages cost
twice as much to mail—2 cents!
businesses could print an advertisement on one side of a mail card and only be
charged the one cent rate. This quickly
became a very inexpensive and popular way to advertise.
1898 the laws governing postage rates changed making it one cent for all
postcards. This greatly increased the
popularly of postcards for personal communication.
wasn’t until 1907 that postcards were designed with the divided back allowing
the message to be written on the left side and the address on the right. Cards with this format are considered to be
from the modern era of postcards.
they are relatively easy to acquire, inexpensive and provide a sense of
nostalgia vintage postcards are a popular collectable.
Transylvania County Library has a postcard collection dating from the early and
mid 1900s. This collection contains
postcards representing downtown Brevard, churches, hotels, camps, Ecusta, waterfalls,
mills and Lake Toxaway & Toxaway Inn. In additional there are a number of holiday
and general greetings postcards.
of the earliest ones, particularly of Lake Toxaway and the Toxaway Inn were made
from photographs taken by R. Henry Scadin and then hand-painted by his wife,
Kate. These same images are seen in the
early tourism brochures currently on display at the library.
of the postcards contain personal messages, as well as stamps and
library’s collection is available for browsing in the Rowell Bosse North
Carolina Room on the second floor.
Photos: Although not actually Valentine’s postcards these two cards offer greetings of love from Rosman. They are postmarked November 9, 1915 and addresses to Miss Jerdie Pressley in Glenville, NC.
Photographs and information for this column are provided by the
Rowell Bosse North Carolina Room, Transylvania County Library. Visit the NC Room during regular library
hours (Monday-Friday) to learn more about our history and see additional
photographs. For more information,
comments or suggestions contact Marcy at [email protected] or 828-884-3151 X242.