The picture postcard is 150 years old – who still writes postcards today??

The picture postcard is 150 years old - who still writes postcards today??

A list with the addresses of all acquaintances and relatives who were to receive a postcard from sunny italy or the far north of germany was stowed away in the vacation suitcase a few years ago. After all, one wanted to send a grub and let the recipient also share a bit of the vacation mood. "Today, people send information via e-mail or send an electronic postcard and attach a few photos", says forchheim city archivist rainer kestler. The picture postcard celebrates its 150th birthday this year. Birthday. The post office in northern germany introduced the possibility for people to send each other postcards. At that time, war was on the horizon and germany was mobilizing against france. The people were able to convey courage and confidence with the cards. The first picture postcard was sent by the oldenburg printer and publisher august schwartz to his parents-in-law in magdeburg. On his card was drawn an artilleryman. In 1871, the post office sold postcards and greeting cards, and a year later, the post office also delivered privately produced motif cards. The oldest picture postcard that rainer kestler has in his archives dates from 1898 and was a birthday card showing the hauptstrabe. This was already a photograph, but not colored. "The maps show the focal points in forchheim", woman kestler. Thus, different motifs are on the cards from the years 1900, 1903, 1910 or 1927. On one of the maps you can see the nurnberger tor, on another the herder-gymnasium, the train station, partly also companies like the weaving mill or the spinning mill or the western side of the fortress and the old regnitz bridge.

Handing over treasures

These cards were received by burghers in forchheim from their relatives or friends and given to rainer kestler as a treasure. "People have congratulated on their birthday or written that they will come to annafest. The annafest was something special", tells kestler. For the folk festival, many emigrants from canada or australia returned home.

Annafest motifs

A card with the annafest as a motive came from munich. Relatives wrote them. That one is well, that one should dig the brother or the sister, was mostly the content of the cards. "The cards were used to send news, for every occasion", explains kestler. If someone was traveling to a place of pilgrimage or in another city or even abroad, a picture postcard was bought and sent with pits. The picture postcards of the early years are still written in old german script. "You have to be able to decipher that", says kestler.



Because not everyone wrote razor-sharp. Also at that time everybody had his own writing and some people also wrote on the cards. Especially in the 1950s, when people spent their vacations in spain, italy or portugal, a lot of vacation cards were sent – and that took. "You were often already back home when the postcard arrived", kestler tells with a smile about the long postal route of the card. Sending an SMS or electronic vacation card is much faster, but also faster in the virtual paper basket, while printed tickets are more likely to be kept.

History of a place

For city archivist rainer kestler, preserving these cards is very important, and not just because it’s the job of a city archivist. "It is also the story of a place", keslter emphasizes "you can see the changes. This is important for the later generations to see how it looked like before." This can be seen, for example, on the first colored picture postcard from 1902 with the annafest as the motif. How the festival has changed over the years? How the driving gear? These changes can also be seen on the maps of small towns in the district of forchheim. Decades ago, the retailers had already printed postcards with sights from their town, including armin wolfel from grafenberg or, better yet, his parents. "I still have two views in the assortment. They show the historic town hall", says wolfel. The tickets are still being bought", betrayal wolfel. Although they are not the big seller in the store, some tourists still send their vacation greetings on printed cards.

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