My Postcard as an Historical Artifact


The Cross, Kilmarnock, front


The Cross, Kilmarnock, back

The postcard is part of Thistle Border series from Davidsons, which includes various famous locations throughout Scotland depicted in postcards bordered with a beautiful thistle design, a typical Scottish flower, leading us to assume that tourists were the intended audience for the series. (Items, 2019) The postage stamp and writing on its back show that it was sent from Glasgow in Scotland to Berkeley, California in July 1909, suggesting that the region of Kilmarnock received visitors from as far as the Pacific North America.

A closer examination of the postcard gives us an interesting example of street life of the early 20th century, with horse carriages and bicycles sharing the street with electric trams, as well as a glimpse of the clothing used at the time. We can also have an idea of what the cityscape of a large sized manufacturing town would look like at the time, including businesses that would be common in it, like a clothing store, a tobacco shop and a surgeon. A postcard like this one was usually sent by tourists to friends and family during a trip, and a used one like this particular postcard would probably have been kept by its recipient until being added to a collection at a later date.

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