The only things we bought last week at the DC Big Flea were very, very small. Jen stopped at a vendor who had vast plastic trays of postcards arranged on a table, categorized by location, and her eagle eye found the county my parents live in almost immediately. She picked up a small sheaf of cards and two immediately caught her attention: the church across the street from my parents’ house, and a shot of Main street in their town.

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Lousy camerphone image, sorry

The helpful vendor dated them for us sometime between 1901 and 1908, when they were known as “souvenir cards”. At that time the USPS still prohibited private companies from calling them post cards, and the sender could only include a short message on the front side. In 1908 the prohibition was struck down, and anyone could publish post cards with the familiar divided back.

These two were printed in Germany, a sign of their quality, and have the location printed in script on the front (I’ve removed it to protect the innocent). At the time, it cost one US Cent to mail.

I would give anything to go back in time to turn the camera about 120° to the left for a shot of my folks’ house.

Date posted: January 17, 2008 | Filed under history | Comments Off on Familiar Church.

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