National Postcard Week started yesterday and continues through Saturday. Never heard of this “holiday”? Don’t worry. I’ll tell you all about it.
According to Wikipedia,
National Postcard Week is an annual event to promote the use of postcards, held in the first full week of May since 1984. Started in the US, it is also celebrated by deltiologists in other countries. Special commemorative postcards have been printed for Postcard week by various organizations, especially postcard clubs, since as early as 1985.
…on February 27, 1861, the US Congress passed an act that allowed privately printed cards, weighing one ounce or under, to be sent in the mail. During that same year, John P. Charlton copyrighted the first postcard in America.
Author Jessica Biondo goes on to say that over time postcards
became colorful, collectible and more complex, and they were even used as prizes and travel souvenirs!
Postcard styles changed and developed over time. Here are the three eras of postcards as laid out by Biondo:
The Early Modern Era of postcards was 1916-1930, known as the white border period. American printing technology had advanced, creating higher quality postcards with white borders around the featured picture.
The Linen Card Era of postcards was 1930-1945, enabling publishers to print postcards on linen paper stock with brilliant colors…
The Photochrom Era of postcards is 1939-present, remaining as the most popular era of postcards today when it comes to quality print reproduction.
I couldn’t find much about National Postcard Week 2020 online. A seller on eBay has a couple of National Postcard Week 2020 postcards for sell, and there is a National Postcard Week swap on Swap-bot. Maybe the COVID-19 global pandemic is overshadowing postcards this year.
I did find out a little more history of National Postcard Week from the aformentioned swap on Swap-bot.
National Postcard Week was the brain child of: John H. McClintock; DeeDee Parker; Roy Cox and Richard Novick and others. It began in 1984 as a way to promote our hobby.
Cool! It’s nice to be able to link some fellow deltiologists to the origins of the celebration.
Wait! What’s a deltiologist? I’m glad you asked.
According to Wikipedia,
Deltiology (from Greek δελτίον, deltion, diminutive of δέλτος, deltos, “writing tablet, letter”; and -λογία, -logia) is the study and collection of postcards. Professor Randall Rhoades of Ashland, Ohio, coined a word in 1945 that became the accepted description of the study of picture postcards.
So if deltiology is the study and collection of postcards, a deltiologist is a person who studies and collects postcards. I don’t actually study or collect postcards, so I guess I’m not actually a deltiologist. I am a postcard enthusiast, but I don’t have a formal collection, and I don’t study the cards I receive or send. I enjoy the social aspects of postcards. I like sending and receiving mail. I like brightening people’s day with postcards, and I like having my day brightened too, but nothing about postcards is serious or academic to me.
I first heard about National Postcard Week last year on Instagram. I swapped postcards with a couple of people who had created special cards for National Postcard Week. I was impressed by folks who went to so much trouble to celebrate the week.
I decided last year that I wanted to create my own postcards for the 2020 National Postcard Week. In February I started the process. I went to Vistaprint and figured out how to upload my photos to my account. Once I picked out the right template for my card, I added my photos and appropriate text. It was all really easy.
I ordered 100 copies of my postcard. I ended up sending out about 65 of them. The rest I gave to people I suspected would otherwise not send out postcards during the special week. It was fun to send my cards out into the world one way or another.
I encourage you to send out postcards this week too. They don’t have to be specially designed cards that you paid to have printed. Just use any postcards you have or can buy. (I sometimes buy touristy postcards at larger supermarkets and even Wal-Mart.) Heck, you can even make your own postcards from food packages you have around the house.
(If you want to make your own postcards, keep the postcard requirements from the United States Postal Service in mind. According to Mailing.com, to qualify for the postcard rate of 35 cents,
a mail piece must be rectangular and meet these dimensions:
At least 3-1/2” high X 5” long X 0.007” thick
No more than 4-1/4” high X 6” long X 0.016” thick
Meet those requirements, and you’re got yourself a postcard!)
Whatever postcard you end up with, write “National Postcard Week 2020” on it somewhere, and you’re good to go.
Is it strange to be celebrating postcards in a time of global pandemic? I think not. Sharing postcards makes total sense in these difficult times. Now more than ever I think people want tangible proof of their connections with others. They want to hold on to something that says, “I love you”; they want to be able to sleep with some small token of affection under their pillows.
Happy National Postcard Week from the Rubber Tramp Artist.