America at Night in the Golden Age of Picture Postcards 1900-1914

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W. Earl Long

America at Night

In the Golden Era of Picture Postcards

1900 – 1914


“America at Night in the Golden Age of Picture Postcards” presents American towns and cities in an idealized vision of their time, under a moonlit sky.

The scenes catch this vision of the peaceful time between the turn of the century and 1914. We are fortunate to be able to see this world because of the craze for collecting picture postcards that swept the world then — buying, sending, and preserving these snapshots in time.

Picture postcards published during this period provided the first low-cost and widely available “graphic windows” that allowed people to see the world around them in color.

This nostalgic era in American history came to an abrupt halt when World War I began. The supply of these exquisitely printed postcards imported from Germany was immediately stopped by the hostilities.

Postcard History is very pleased that W. Earl Long has allowed us to display the 30 postcards that he uses in just one of his nine “high-tech version of an old Magic Lantern postcard show.” All the cards are from his extensive personal collection.

His presentations revive the bygone era when people shared their picture postcards with family and friends using primitive Magic Lantern projectors to show enlarged postcard images on parlor walls.

Please note that eight of these cards are “day-versus-night” views of the same scene and can be seen below.

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Lovely – thanks. Question: Do you know if the string of lights in the Norfolk VA card were for year-round lighting? Or just the winter holiday season? I manager the Metropolitan Postcard Club Facebook page and I just posted a similar image. One commenter assumed these were holiday lights. But I suspect they’re year-round, as I see them in many night scenes of small towns from the pre-WWI era. Any “enlightment” on this is appreciated 😉 Thanks.

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