Friday, February 4, 2011

Social Networking in the Early 1900s

In the early 1900s, small towns dotted the American landscape by the thousands. You did not have to move very far away from your home town to lose touch with those you left behind. But in 1903, Kodak made it much easier to stay in touch. That was the year they introduced the Kodak No. 3 Folding Pocket Camera, making it easy to have a camera handy and make 'snap shots'. This was right on the heels of a service they offered a year earlier enabling people to have any photo negative printed on a post card. Add to that the fact that in 1905, the U.S. Postal Service introduced the penny postcard. Suddenly, it was possible to stay in closer touch with family and friends for the mere cost of a penny. The 'real photo post card' was quite popular for several decades. Today you can find these in almost any antique shop, or at large flea markets. I have quite a collection of these. Here's a few.

These gals had their photo made as a cameo on a postcard, leaving lots of room to share news about what was going on in their lives.

You could also easily send a post card showing off the kids.

Sometimes a post card informed of a friend or family member's death. On the back of this one there is a brief note: "Caroline Steele, wreath at her funeral." There were many cards of the era showing the deceased in an open coffin. I will do another post soon on this subject.

This lovely lady had her postcard portrait color re-touched. A nice Valentine to send the boy friend, perhaps.

This gentleman has his photo card made at the Violet Studio in the Nashville Arcade in the early 1900s. The arcade was built in 1902. I am still looking for additional information about the Violet Studio, I presume it was one of the first establishments to have a business in the arcade. Many such places offered photo cards made on the spot, and had 'settings' within which one could strike a pose.

Postcard photo booths often came complete with an atmospheric set, and even costumes to wear.


  1. Cool, Dee. I love doing it, because I wind up researching all sortsa stuff along the way.

  2. I've never heard of these kind of postcards. It is a great part of the history of photography that seems to have been left out of the few things I have seen and read on the subject. I especially like the little retouched one. It gives me some good ideas!

  3. Stickup, If this post gives you some good ideas, then, I feel quite happy. Go with it! It would make my day. That re-touched one is sweet. If you double clicked on the pic you probably saw the paint strokes on the flowers. Re-touch 'paints' are a cool thing to play with, although, I must say, your images stand for themselves so well! I have a friend who colors her b/ws sometimes, she uses q-tips.