The Real Photo postcard

I have a nice vintage collection of what are known as “Real Photo” postcards.  Families or traveling photographers took photographs that could be printed on the front side of a postcard that could be mailed to relatives and friends.  See the Wikipedia description of the Real photo postcard here:

Although not mass-produced as were the souvenir or commercial post cards, the individual images were likely to be printed on many postcards.  This is the reason one might find the same print in many photo albums for the same (and extended) family.

The following photo of my great-grandparents was taken between 1905 and 1910. There is no writing on the back of this postcard.


The next postcard provided me with clues while researching a complicated family line.  It includes a photo of a female relative with her children and second husband.  On the back of the photo postcard, she wrote to her sister and mentioned the recent funeral of her ex-husband’s father.  Note the damage to the written side of the postcard. The postcard was removed from an album in which the photos had been glued to the black album pages.


Family photo postcard 1912

orilie 2

Photocopy of reverse side of photo postcard 1912
Postcard had been trimmed to fit in photo album therefore some of the text is missing.

I have a few mass-produced antique postcards in my collection but I have a preference for the Real Photo postcards because they contain the only known images of some of my family.

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7 Responses to The Real Photo postcard

  1. These photographs are great, especially the horse and buggy. You are so lucky to have these.

  2. weggieboy says:

    I have a few of these myself.

    Two favorites: My mother as a 5 year old, ribbon in hair, in a buggy drawn by an ostrich. My grandparents stand beside this strange scene, unconcerned or aware of how bizarre it is.

    A second one (presumably meant for mailing to family still living in Scotland) shows my grandmother and one of her sisters, at the time young women, (both Scottish immigrants going native in America, where they lived the rest of their lives) dressed up as a cowboy and an Indian. I framed both postcards, and have them on my family wall in the front room. They make me smile, not to mention remind me where I got my sense of humor and over-developed sense of irony!

    Thanks for sharing YOUR family postcards! Wonderful, aren’t they!?

    • Natasha says:

      I like the old photos that appear really bizarre by current day standards. I have a few photos like yours that need explanation or they wouldn’t make sense to anyone. I’ll post them as time goes on. Thank you for sharing your stories.

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