Traveling Through Time with Penny Postcards

A friend of mine emailed me a link to the Penny Postcards website today. This is a really neat archive of US post card images from 1917 to 1928. Penny postcards were just that, post cards that cost a one cent to mail.

Penny Post Card from San Francisco, 1909

The site is organized by state and then county. The organization is a bit confusing, as you go from the list of states to a page listing all the counties in that state you see a page scattered with thumbnails. One would think that only counties with thumbnails have images under them, but that doesn’t seem the case. Even the counties without a thumbnail can have images under them. So you have to do some digging around. But what a fun and neat place to explore.

Penny Post Card with Photo of Downtown San Francisco, date unknown

The post cards tend to be a combination of photos, colorized photos, and colored drawings. Typically showing street scenes, sometimes other scenes from every day life of the time.

The site seems to be an archive for images of these cards, the cards themselves are owned by various private collectors who have submitted scans of their cards. If you happen to have some of these cards lying around your house, there are instructions on the website for how to submit scans of your cards.

This is a neat little archive project and a fun site to browse through the past on. Check it out.

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