Postcards, ca. 1905-ca. 1910.
Nearly 800 million postcards were sold in the U.S. in 1906 during the height of the “Postal Carditis” fad. Although the first private postal card was issued in Philadelphia in 1861, the souvenir picture postcards familiar to us today did not begin commercial production until the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893. When the postal rate dropped to one cent in 1898, the private postcard began to surge in popularity. Sold everywhere from bookstores to barbershops for roughly twenty-five cents for one to one dollar for a dozen, turn-of-the-century postcards were usually produced photomechanically by specialized American and European publishing firms and often depicted city views. Novelty postcards on leather and real photo postcards reminiscent of family snapshots, as well as advertising, political, and comic postcards, also circulated and were saved by the voracious collectors.