You've got questions about discovering, preserving and celebrating your family history; our experts have the answers.
. Were some personal photographs printed with a postcard-like back? I am just now going through old photos belonging to my cousin. Many are unidentifiable black-and-white postcards. One postcard, however, my cousin identified as being people he could recognize. This makes me wonder if some of the other unlabeled postcards aren't photographs taken by a relative.
A. In the late 19th century, the picture postcard became an
inexpensive way to mail images to friends and relatives.
You could purchase postcard views of locations sold by the Detroit
Photographic Co. and others, or you could request to have your portrait printed
as a postcard by a local photography studio. (Crown,
The first photo
postcards just had a small strip along the bottom front edge for messages, but
later evolved into the split-back version we're familiar with today,
with space for writing a message and an address. For additional information on
the history of picture postcards, try to locate a copy of George and
Dorothy Ryan's Picture Postcards in the United States, 1893-1918 (Crown).
Learn how to identify the people shown in your real-photo postcards, daguerreotypes, tintypes and other old family photos in Family Photo Detective
by photo historian Maureen A. Taylor (Family Tree Books).