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Featured Focus: "Postcards From the Past"
Source:"Postcards." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postcard
Table Caption: Featured Focus
Image Above: WPA Post Office, 220 W. Main, 1939

Postcards From the Past

THE FIRST POSTCARD was patented in the U. S. in 1861 by John P. Charlton of Philadelphia. Charlton sold the rights to his patent to a gentleman by the name of H. L. Lipman, whose postcards, which also featured a decorated border, were called "Lipman's postal cards."

As postcards became popular with the public, people became interested in this new and easier way to send brief notes to others. In response to public interest, the United States Postal Service issued the first USPS pre-stamped postal cards. Initially, the U. S. Postal Service was the only U.S. entity allowed to print postcards. The Postal Service held this monopoly until May 19, 1898, at which time Congress passed the Private Mailing Card Act allowing private publishers and printers to produce and sell postcards. However, "the United States government prohibited private companies from calling their cards “postcards,” which is why they were known as 'souvenir cards' until 1901'" when the ban was rescinded. Still, it was not until 1908 that people were allowed to write on the "address side" of a postcard.

In 1893, the first U. S. postcard was printed to advertise the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Soon the U. S. government ( United States Postal Service), allowed printers to publish a 1-cent postcard; these inexpensive cards became popularly known as "Penny Postcards." Government postal cards and privately printed souvenir cards became increasingly popular after the 1863 Columbian Exposition in Chicago, where postcards featuring buildings were distributed at the fair. By the early 1900s, millions of postcards were being mailed regularly in the U. S. The Historical Society of Lee's Summit has collected a series of postcards related to historical Lee's Summit. HSLS is always interested in preserving relics and memorabilia related to Lee's Summit's rich heritage. Please feel free to contact us if you have additional postcard images of historic Lee's Summit and the surrounding area that you would like to add to our collection to share with others.



Photographs: Historical Society of Lee's Summit, © 2015. All rights reserved. Photographs are not available for public use. Images may not be copied, distributed, downloaded, or used in any other print or technological source, including but not limited to use on any other web site without the written permission of an authorized person with the Historical Society of Lee's Summit.

Historical Society of Lee's Summit © 2015.