In this day of social media—with instant selfies, check-ins, and Instagram posts—it is easy to forget that not too long ago people shared their vacation experiences via postcards. In the United States, John P. Charlton of Philadelphia patented the first commercial postcard. After selling the rights to Hymen Lipman, Lipman produced decorative cards known as “Lipman’s postal card.” While these cards had decorative borders, they contained no images.
In 1873, the Morgan Envelope Company produced the first American postcard with images designed to promote the Interstate Industrial Exhibition in Chicago. Similarly, 20 years later the first commercial US postcards were developed for the 1893 World’s Columbia Exhibition also held in Chicago.
In Washington, DC, the District Architecture Center is showing an exhibit of vintage postcards of the city. Titled “Wish You Were Here,” the exhibit will be on display through September 8
Postcards from paradise — or at least from Washington, D.C.
By John Kelley
The Washington Post
August 21, 2017