Why did people buy postcards?
During the twenty five year long golden age of postcard popularity, postcards became standardised in layout and size making them easy to use and more efficient than sending a letter which required more components to write and send. Picture postcards were also immensely popular because they were peaking in a period before telephone communication was being widely used, it was the most efficient means of sending a non-discreet message in an enjoyable and informal manner, suiting the general feeling of the early twentieth century. A significant factor in the nationwide popularity of sending postcards was that it was affordable to the “new middle class”, mass produced on an enormous scale and with more efficient printing processes, it allowed the demands of postcard users to be fulfilled.
Peaking in popularity as the picture postcard, aesthetically driven for collectors and tourists, the postcards of the golden age still fulfilled their original purpose, to communicate a message, the types of message communicated changing somewhat of the course of the century but still as a means of communication, operating successfully for those who wished to use their postcards in this way. Looking at the RTSA collection we can see that many of the postcards were not used, some perhaps overlooked and forgotten about and others collected as items during the period with no intention of ever being used, collected as a hobby.