Golus. Samuel Hirszenberg, 1904.
Endless line of suffering Jews moving westward in stoic resignation.
Postcards are a result of the combined development of printing techniques, photography, postal services and tourism. The postcard included only text in the beginning, until one side got devoted to an illustration, whether caricature, painting, engraving, embroidery or photograph.
The first postcard was published in 1869 in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the genre quickly triggered a revolution in communication. It was cheaper to produce and send than letters, at a time when paper was expensive and postage remained a privilege of the higher classes.
The postcard contributed to the phenomenon of mass communication at the turn of the 20th century: quickly produced by the thousand, quickly written with two or three sentences, quickly sent without an envelope, and quickly received at a time when mail was delivered three times a day. Postcards were used to send greetings from a leisurely place, extend wishes for a happy occasion, make a political statement, comment on current events, invite for tea, or complain about the weather.
The postcard are a medium with great potential for study, from its illustration to its message, from its itinerary to its stamp, from its authors to its collectors.