The Postcard and South Station

South Station was a popular post card subject for travelers and Bostonian's alike and many examples can still be found to this day - chronicling not only the historic train terminal, but the history of the postcard itself.



1898: Congress passed the Private Mailing Card Act, allowing private publishers and printers to produce postcards.

1901: The word "Post Card" appears on the reverse side without the picture. Written messages were restricted to the front side, with the entire back dedicated to the address. This "undivided back" is what gives this postcard era its name. 

1907: The "divided back" card, with space for a message on the address side, came into use. The back is divided into two sections, the left section being used for the message and the right for the address.

1907 - 1915: The Golden Age of American postcards until World War I blocked the import of the fine German-printed cards.

1916 - 1930: The "white border" era, named for obvious reasons.

1930 - 1945: The "linen card" era when cards were primarily printed on papers with a high rag content.

1939 - : The last and current postcard era is the "photochrome" or "chrome" era. The images on these cards are generally based on colored photographs, and are readily identified by the glossy appearance given by the paper's coating.