The dynamics of postcards have evolved greatly over time, changing their overall look. There are some postcards that look much different then those from the time of their creation. The sizes, shapes materials, and the overall set up have all varied over time. Some of these changes affected Beverly Massachusetts, while others didn’t. Beverly had its own dynamics of postcards as many other places did.
Postcards as you may already know are not very large. They have always been rather small since their creation. Early on in the life span of the postcard there was a standard size widely used in the United States of 3 ½ inches by 5 ½ inches. Almost as large as the majority of modern cards which are approximately 4 inches by 6 inches. Beverly, on the other hand, had it’s own unique size, 3 ½ inches by 6 ½, for postcards from the earliest to the most recent. Not all postcards have to follow these size restrictions, and there are many exceptions to these rules, but for the most part these are the sizes of postcards.
There are many differences on the front and back of the Beverly postcards. One thing that was always the same on the back of the postcard was the area for the stamp in the top right hand corner. It remained in this spot throughout all the changes and remains the same to this day. The earlier cards used the entire back of the card only for the address only, reading “This Side For Address Only“. To compensate for this lack of room to write on the back, the majority of these postcards had an area to write on the front, this area was blank could be found on any edge of the card. These cards could be of anything such as the United Shoe. Some, however, did not have any space to write which left people scribbling over the picture, or writing in the empty sky. As time went on the law restricting writing on the backs of postcards was lifted and a new appearance of the back was introduced. This new appearance had a line splitting the left and right sides so that the right side could be used for the address and the left for the message. After this happened the percent of cards with a space on the front dropped greatly. A rather small number of cards had lines or the address, the non-divided had the least percent, but it seemed that more of the more recent, divided back cards had them.
Older postcards had no color when the photo was originally taken. The only way to have color postcards was to ship them overseas and have them colorized. For this reason, many were just left black and white or an odd shade of brown. The ones that did have color seemed rather phony, and the color schemes were unrealistic such as this picture of president Taft’s summerhouse. Many don’t just look unrealistic but they look almost hand drawn. They are of streets in Beverly and other places of interest such as the rose garden or post office. The more modern cards can be, and are taken in color. There are a few that are black and white, maybe to give a more authentic look. The most recent cards have the best color and have views that were not obtainable at earlier times. This comes with the invention of the helicopter. There are many pictures of the waterfront.
The outside world had many things in postcards that Beverly did not. All of the Beverly cards are made out of a stiff piece of thick paper. This was the same for most cards but there are some cards out there made from birch bark and other strange materials. There are also many textured cards, which Beverly is missing. Linens for example weren’t really that uncommon but Beverly had none. One type of card that Beverly did have are chromes, which simply have a very glossy look to the front of the card. All of the Beverly cards are in the 3 ½ by 6-½ inch norm, but the rest of the world did not stay in any boundaries and as a result many abstract cards have been made. Beverly is also missing of these abstract postcards. Beverly was rather conservative with their postcards, showing very little creativity other than the pictures used. The photographer or artist is the only one who made any attempt to change the dynamics of the postcard.
Beverly had its own unique design of postcards that no other place had by its subtle differences. The size and lack of abstract ideas and other variations in the dynamics make these postcards original. While the world was doing one thing Beverly was doing the same thing in its own unique little way. and other spots that can easily catch a person’s eye.
Collins, C “Interesting Facts about our Postcards” Hobbies, July 1952, 150-152
Staff, Frank.The Picture Postcard and Its Origins. New York: Frederick A Praeger, 1966
Next chapter: What was written on the back