When Postcards Made Every Town Seem Glamorous

From the 1930s to the 1950s, Americans were urged to hit the road in their automobiles and travel the newly-built highways to see places where they could spend tourist dollars. We are still encouraged to do so, but during that heyday you could get a souvenir postcard from just about any small town you passed through. These were the large letter postcards, usually with “Greetings from” at the top, and pictures of the area in each letter of the place name. Several companies made them, but they are getting harder to find now. The most famous example is above, the postcard that was adapted as the cover of Bruce Springsteen’s first album.

Fred Tenney and Kevin Hilbert are serious collectors of large letter postcards, and have recently published the book Large Letter Postcards: The Definitive Guide, 1930s to 1950s. You can see dozens of examples, and get the story of the cards from the authors in a post at Collectors Weekly.

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