1 Oct: Postcards – The Poor Man’s Telephone

A 12 x 8.5cm ‘Correspondenzkarte’, the earliest progenitor of the modern-day postcard, was created by the Austrian Post on 1st October, 1869.

Cheaper and more practical than sending long-form letters, the new medium was an instant sensation with the public – with three million postcards being sent in the first three months. But cultural conservatives felt it would lead to poor grammar, a capitulation of individuality, and a brash new form of self-expression…

In this episode, Arion, Olly and Rebecca reveal the indomitability of the Isle of Man’s postcard censorship committee; revisit the career of the ‘King of the Saucy Seaside’, Donald McGill; and 

unearth the frustrated adventures of ‘the wronged true inventor of the postcard’, Dr. Heinrich Von Stephan.

Further Reading:

• ‘The Story of the Postcard’ (Postimuseo Finland, 2020):

• ‘Tweeting by mail: The postcard’s stormy birth’(LA Times, 2013): https://www.latimes.com/opinion/la-xpm-2013-jun-22-la-oe-cure-postcards-twitter-20130623-story.html

• ‘History of the Saucy Postcard’ (Donald McGill Museum, 2020): https://saucyseasidepostcards.com/?page_id=89

We’ve released FIVE MINUTES MORE of bonus content about the history of postcards, which you can access by supporting us via Patreon* at patreon.com/retrospectors.

By so doing, you get a bonus bit every single week*, and an ad-free feed, and you help us make the show. Thanks!

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The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.