Looking Back


Stories Are Told Via Postcards


Postcards are slowly becoming a thing of the past. "Pics" taken on your phone and posted on social media or emailed to dozens of recipients throughout the world within minutes have replaced a real card stock picture with a handwritten message on the back and a postage stamp from the country of origin. (Add to this the days/weeks/even months for the postcard to arrive.)

Postcard verso
Postcard from Montreal 1919

Handwritten on the back:
"What do you think of our nice little family?"


Photocards were frequently used at the turn of the 20th century to maintain visual family connections and were especially appreciated by those families newly settled in Canada. Eastman Kodak introduced a camera in 1907 that was able to take black and white photographs and have them printed on postcard backs.


View cards featured cities and places within cities. They enabled a short message (a saving of time, writing paper and envelope, postage) to let people know that all was well and the holiday (or destination) was great. The view of incredibly long summer nights in Grande Prairie was definitely worth sending back home.


Grande Prairie
Grande Prairie - no date

Onoway Museum has an especially meaningful collection of postcards kept by Mrs. Lily Looker in a postcard album. These postcards follow a transition from life in England to the homestead in Bilby/Heatherdown. A heartwarming series (or was it heartbreaking?) follows Charlie Looker after he enlisted in WWI through to the battle fields of Europe where he was injured soon after. Postcards of the hospital in England where he was treated give you some idea of a loving husband trying to reassure his wife that he was OK.


Postcard Book
Nottingham Hospital
Photo postcards from Lily Looker's postcard album
Hospital in Nottingham where Charlie Looker was hospitalized in 1916

Moral of story: the next time you are away on holiday/business, send a REAL postcard with a REAL stamp This will stand the test of time. Digital photos will not.


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 Last updated: November 11, 2015