A collection of approximately 8,000 picture postcards of Florida attractions, cities, and people, circa 1900s-1970s

Collection Number: M82-6

Title: Postcard Collection, ca. 1900-1999

Quantity: Approximately 8,000 postcards


This collection of picture postcards provides images of Florida statewide, including historic sites; tourist attractions and resorts; industries; schools, churches, and government buildings; roads, bridges, and railroads; urban and rural scenes; Seminole Indians; and Florida's wildlife and natural environments. The collection includes both color and black-and-white images.

Historical Note:

Picture postcards reveal much about contemporary society's people and places: their physical environments, natural and manmade, as well as customs, pastimes, and amusements. Originally, postcards were designed as plain cards that could be used for transmitting a message at a lower cost than a letter. In the United States, the Post Office issued the first plain postal cards in 1873, selling 60 million in the first six months they were available. Picture postcards were developed in France in the 1870s but were not allowed by postal regulations in the United States until much later. Early versions were restricted to having the message on one side and the address on the other, limiting the space available for both pictures and messages. It was not until 1907 that the divided back was permitted in the United States.

The advent of color printing processes set off a boom in picture postcards. Today, picture postcards can be found in nearly every store, every airport, every tourist attraction -- any place likely to have visitors with money to spend.