In Praise of the Postcard

A Seemingly Obsolete Technology Invites Us to Ruminate on the Possibilities of the Past and the Future

The postcard selection on Vis, Croatia’s most remote island, was not terribly appealing. I considered a card adorned with a photograph of boats in the old harbor. Surely, I thought, the photograph I had taken the previous night of the pink sunset over the harbor in Komiža was more beautiful than the seemingly hastily composed postcard image of the same scene.

Later, I posted my pink sunset to Instagram Stories with a humorous caption. The act fulfilled the historic function of the postcard—to swiftly and cheaply share an illustrated message.

Seen by …

The Postcards That Captured America’s Love for the Open Road

From Mid-Century Until Today, “Greetings From” Postcards Have Combined a ‘Fantastical View’ of the Country With Car Culture Obsession

The most prolific producer of the iconic 20th-century American travel postcard was a German-born printer, a man named Curt Teich, who immigrated to America in 1895. In 1931, Teich’s printing …

The Jersey Doctor Who Donated 29 Boxes of Postcards to the Smithsonian

His Hundreds of Thousands of Alluring Images Will Make You Wish You Were There

The postcard—dated February 7, 1940—shows an image of bright blue water, palm trees, and people lounging under umbrellas. A printed title rubs it in— “Enjoying Mid-Winter Bathing and Sunshine at …