October 1st is the 150th anniversary of the first postcard

The postcard as a mailed item appeared on October 1, 1869 in Austria-Hungary by the order of the post office directorate under the name “correspondence card”.

In 1874, at the Universal Postal Congress in Bern, twenty-two states, including Russia, signed the universal postal convention and approved a single open letter format - 9x14 cm. Starting from 1904, the left half of the card’s rear side was reserved for writing, and the right one - for address. Images, due to which postcards were actually valued, remained untouched.

In Russia, with its vast distances, postcards played the educational role as well. Calendars, maps, reproductions of works by famous artists and sculptors and portraits of great people were printed on them. Cards with the images of the reigning family were printed in large circulation.

After the Great October revolution, postcards were declared bourgeois prejudice in the Soviet Union. From 1935 and during the period preceding the Great Patriotic War, the production of illustrated postcards became quite limited in the country. A photo postcard occupied the central place.

However, over time, the production of postcards resumed. Mass production of the Soviet greeting cards was launched in 1953.

Dramatic spate occurred at early 21st century. Post cards of huge formats (A4, A3) appeared. They were meant for parties, weddings and anniversaries. Cards with jokes and funny gags and cards of complicated shapes were very popular. Personalized postcards appeared - not just “Congratulations”, but “to the beloved dad” or “to the best friend”, postcards with the jubilee figures were widespread. It would seem that with the rapid development of scientific and technological progress and the advent of modern communication means, the age of a paper postcard ends and goes down in history, and electronic postcard replaces a paper one, but at that point the Deltiology makes a new round – Post-crossing appears and handmade postcards come into fashion.

In other words, the historical age of paper postcards continues. They are preserved in family archives, among collectors, in museums’ repositories and libraries. They present valuable historical documentary material that has not yet been fully investigated. Many interesting details not only for historians, but for writers, artists, ethnographers, and journalists as well can be found while studying postcards.

For the 150th anniversary of the first postcard, we have prepared a photo albumcomposed of postcards stored in the Museum Collection repository.

Chapkina M.Ya. Muscovites congratulate! Russian Greeting Card of 1897-1917; M., Contact - Culture Publishing House, M., 2009
Chapkina M.Ya. Greetings from the Capital! Soviet greeting card of 1917-1991; album, M., Contact – Culture, M., 2013