Greetings from afar

I have always loved receiving postcards – it’s great to have physical evidence that your friends are thinking of you and it allows you see places you may never get to. I keep the most precious ones in albums, so let’s look at those first. The golden age of postcards was in the early 20th Century (1905 – 1914), so although purely coincidental, both albums seem fitting:

cover of postcard album from around 1910 showing man and woman. The man is writing a card while the woman watches on.
Bought this one on a flea-market at Potsdamer Platz in then ‘West-Berlin’
Isn’t this a lovely frontispiece? It inspired the title of this blog:
‘Greetings from afar’
I have recently become interested in what is known as ‘Endpapers’ / Vorsatzpapiere – and this is a lovely example

The 2nd album is also very ‘Art Nouveau’ – and has a great Endpaper, too.

cover of French postcard album - early 20th century. Basket of pansies on green background and text" Cartes postales' in upper left hand corner

It seems my interest in postcards means that I dabble in ‘Deltiology’ – the study and collection of postcards. Depending on your age, you may well be a Deltiologist (if this is a term), too!

I am particularly fond of ‘Boring’ postcards but won’t even attempt to start a collection as the photographer Martin Parr has the very best. Thankfully, he has shared his finds by publishing them. I heartily recommend the books
(I have no affiliation, I truly find them both beautiful and hilarious).
Here are some examples:

photo of page from Martin Parr's 'Boring postcards'. Black and white. Showing sleeping blocks at a holiday camp.
These 2 are from the UK – the original ‘Boring Postcards’
photo of a page from Martin Parr's 'Boring Postcards'. In colour. Car is driving around a bend.
published by Phaidon – sold out on their site but you can get the book 2nd hand elsewhere
photo of a page from Martin Parr's 'Boring Postcards - USA'. In colour. Text: Picturesque Indiana. showing single car on otherwise deserted motorway
These 2 are from the follow- up ‘Boring postcards – USA’
photo of a page from Martin Parr's 'Boring Postcards - USA'. photo of a motel.
this is still available directly from Phaidon – or other sources
photo of a page from Martin Parr's 'Boring Postcard, German edition. Black and white. showing view from bridge across motorway. Motorway is empty.
and finally, from ‘Langweilige Postkarten’ (Boring Postcards) – the German issue
photo of a page from Martin Parr's 'Boring Postcards' - German edition. Showing a 1960s Townhall with VW parked in front.
I’ve included this because it’s part of my ‘Heimat’ . Nowadays I’d be delighted to get this kind of postcard but back in the days? I don’t think so!

To return to the ‘travel’ theme, here are some of my beauties – can you guess where they were from?

Another most wonderful and heartily recommended source not just of images, but of examples of what people actually wrote is the Twitter-account PostcardfromthePast – again, no affiliation – I just love it and wish I had thought of bringing these to the world before. I will leave you with ‘Greetings from the Mountains’ from my own collection. Stay cool!

8 thoughts on “Greetings from afar

  1. Too cool! I also have a ‘budding’ collection of postcards and find them fascinating on many levels. The idea of ‘boring’ postcards is absolutely brilliant, and when you see the examples you gave – for example “A bend on Porlock Hill” you can see the appeal! Makes me want to dig out my envelopes now to see what boring postcards I have in my collection 🙂
    Fab post! Thanks for this.

    Liked by 1 person

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