Dating photo postcards
- Hello All!
I am a new member to this group, just joined, but I love photographs. I am
lucky in that my mother inherited a closet full of family photographs,
some of which she has "allowed" me to take care of. Also I love to collect
photographs; I have been collected for slightly more then 10 years.
In 2 weeks I am going to give a presentation to my genealogy society on
family photography. Just the basics, plate sizes, names, this is a
ambrotype..... this a tintype..... Using examples from my own collection
so they can see with their own eyes.
One thing I am having trouble finding information on is the dating of photo
postcards. I have found hints about "arrows pointing up.....", but nothing
of much use for a informational presentation.
Does anyone in this group have any suggestions?
Searching the following families: Catlett, Irons, Fetters, Christensen,
Metcalf, LaRue, Eck & Davenport.
John C. E. Christensen
- On Sat, 05 Nov 2005 19:18:29 -0500, you wrote:
>postcards. I have found hints about "arrows pointing up.....", but nothingOne method should be if they have a stamp or a place for a stamp
>of much use for a informational presentation.
showing the cost of postage. The postage rates go up in certain years,
so you may be able to get a general date from the postage. I have a
list by Richard A. Wood. Cards have a box where you affix the stamp,
which frequently has a figure or symbol. The most encountered codes
and approximate dates are:
AGFA 1930 on
ANSCO 1941 on
AZO triangles pointing up 1904-18
AZO triangles 2 up/ 2 down 1918 on
AZO squares 1927 on
DEFENDER diamond above & below 1910-20's
DEFENDER diamond inside1920 on
DOPS 1937 on
EKC 1945 on
EKO 1942 on
KODAK 1950 on (possibly 1941 on)
VITAVA 1925 on
A google search may turn up additional information on these figures
and dates from postcard collecting site.
An important thing to tell your audience is do not assume postcards
are not family photographs. In the early 20th century, many postcards
were made by local photographers. They continued the practice of
making views for individuals and then selling duplicates as
stereoviews with postcards. For example, in the 1870s Florida
stereoviews were made of new plantations for their proud owners. These
views were also sold to the public. Not all postcards in a family
collection were merely purchased as souvenirs. Local photographers
often made images of local events such as floods or train wrecks with
intention to sell them. They did the same in the post card era.
Important family and local history can be recorded in postcards. It is
possible this practice continued in a small way up until the 1950s
(according to J.M.Conway).
We may have more than our share of family photographers in postcard
form, because my grandfather who was a young photographer, made them,
but keep in mind some of your own postcards may be family photos. He
made a series of postcards from 1911-1912 approximately. Some show
family, others show local events such as a snow storm. There are some
we attribute to him, but are unsure whether they may be family photos
or perhaps ones he purchased or obtained. They are most likely by him.
How to tell? If the card is made by a local photographer. Or if you
had a photographer in the family. The earlier the card the more likely
it is to contain local content. Commercial, mass produced cards would
be unlikely. The family ones would mostly not be printed, but true
photographic images. It is easy to tell a photographic postcard. The
image will lack the dot pattern of the screen used to print the
photograph (halftone). You can tell a postcard sourced from a
photograph by "negative writing" literally comments identifying the
image and photographer written on the negative. This shows up as white
writing on the image.
The LOC has a brief history of the postcard, but not much on photo
PRAIRIE FIRES AND PAPER MOONS
Delivering Views (Smithsonian Institution Press, 1998) "International
Postcards: Their History, Production and Distribution 1895-1915" by
- Thanks for the information!
This should be more then enough information for a very basic "introduction"
to photos most likely to be found in a shoe box in the back of Aunt Tilly's
At 01:59 PM 2005-11-06 -0500, you wrote:
>On Sat, 05 Nov 2005 19:18:29 -0500, you wrote:<snip snip>
>>postcards. I have found hints about "arrows pointing up.....", but nothing
>>of much use for a informational presentation.
>One method should be if they have a stamp or a place for a stamp
>showing the cost of postage. The postage rates go up in certain years,
>so you may be able to get a general date from the postage. I have a
>list by Richard A. Wood. Cards have a box where you affix the stamp,
>which frequently has a figure or symbol. The most encountered codes
>and approximate dates are:
John C. E. Christensen
Miami Florida, USA