Wait a Sec…Postcard Doubletake?


Looking through some family documents, I found several marvelous postcards and photos. Several were both. I did a double-take when I saw one particular photo of a young boy and his little sister on two separate postcards – what I’ve since learned these are real-photo postcards (RPPCs).

Turns out that these cards were often the early 20th century equivalent of a photo booth at an amusement park. Many (including this one) had props and sometimes even outfits people could wear.

My mother told me that her grandmother “would have taken Robert [my grandfather] and Martha [his sister] to Riverview on the street car, and the children would have posed at a studio there which had the fancy buggy. She probably got several postcard copies from Riverview to send to family and friends. This was a very common form of communication at the time.”

A lot of the fun for me is also learning what my grandfather's mother was writing, to whom and even where she sent the postcards. As always going from faded German to the translated English delighted me (translations below).

In the first postcard, she's writing to her sister and brother-in-law in St. Louis. I like her spunk where she's telling them to visit or she'll be "sour"!

The second postcard went to my great grandfather who was a building painter and craftsman, specializing in the ornate decoration so common at the time. He'd come to America to work on the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago and then stayed. It appears that he must have been in Oskaloosa and living at the YMCA for an extended work trip.

It's fun to notice that neither postcard has a zip code (I've learned that started in 1963), and the first one only said "St. Louis," not even an abbreviation for Missouri! It was the 4th largest city in the US at the time, but even so!

Curious to learn more about this kind of postcard? Ancestorville and Collectors Weekly both have helpful articles on real-photo postcards.

Do you have any German, Danish, Dutch, Swedish or Norwegian documents you can't read? We can help. Find out more here.

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#grandparent #family #genealogy #vintage #realphoto #postcard #StLouis #YMCA #oskaloosa #ColumbianExposition #Chicago #photobooth

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