Purpose and Function


The back of the postcard.

Postcards provide insight into the time, culture, and habits of the people who lived during the time in which the postcard was manufactured and used. It provides information about consumer habits, communication, and even art. These insights on culture and values make them a vital contributor to printed ephemera and historical research. Before these postcards became part of the printed ephemera collection, they were part of other, more specific collections. Many manufacturers of postcards were aware of the appeal of collecting, and used this as an outlet to sell their products. Artists and companies would make postcards that would tell a story or be part of a series.  This would lure consumers into trying to collect all of the postcards.

Unlike the printed ephemera collection, postcards were actually manufactured with the intent of being part of a whole. Many postcards have similarities, or messages that relate them back to one collection or series. Postcards can also be considered something that is given away. The initial purpose of postcards was to be sent away to someone you wished to convey a message to.

The back of this postcard has specific labelled spots on the back to let you know where to write certain information. For example the spot for correspondence is labelled with a message written in the top left corner that says "correspondence" and another message written in the top right that says "address". This is a clear indication of the purpose of this item and how it was used.

The library is committed to ensuring that members of our user community with disabilities have equal access to our services and resources and that their dignity and independence is always respected. If you encounter a barrier and/or need an alternate format, please fill out our Library Print and Multimedia Alternate-Format Request Form. Contact us if you’d like to provide feedback: lib.a11y@uoguelph.ca