Purpose & Function


The back of the postcard, titled "POST CARD".

Postcards serve many purposes. 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. The initial purpose of postcards was to be sent or given away to someone you wished to convey a message to.

            In fact, the back of this postcard even provides instructions on how to use it. The back of the postcard is divided by a T-shaped line that runs directly across the postcard, producing 3 separate sections. In the bottom left section states “THIS SPACE MAY BE USED FOR CORRESPONDENCE,” thus showing that postcards can be used to send and receive messages, but that it is not the only thing that a postcard may be used for, especially in this case. The postcard I am studying was actually left blank, and was never sent to anyone. This introduces a new purpose for this card – as a memento or keep-sake. Later in the Historical Context tab we will see what memory this card held for the previous owner. 

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