Old Photos

How to Date Real Photo Postcards – 1904-1920’s

Today I share three photos that are real photo postcards.  One would go to a photographer, have your picture made and he would print it on a postcard.  You could mail this postcard just like we do today – although our postcards are generally from where we visit on vacation.  None of the real photo postcards I share with you today have been mailed, but I have others that have been mailed and have notes written on back.

Our first photograph is of a beautiful young woman, nicely dressed in a silky, ruffled blouse.  She wears a necklace with a cross, a bangle bracelet and a ring on her left hand – an engagement ring?  Her hair is softly curled.  She is very casually posed and I believe there is a hint of a smile on her face.

This is the back of the postcard.  Lipp Studios at 1210 Chestnut Street, and 1228 Market Street, in Philadelphia took the photo.  The studio is not always printed on back, but it did give free advertisement for the photographer.  What I want you to notice is the area where you would place your stamp.  This design tells us it is a Cyko postcard, from the ANSCO Company.  This design was in use 1904-1920’s, giving us a rather close time period for this post card.

Our next photo is of a dapper young man, nicely dressed in his pinstripe suit.  Notice the rounded edges of his collar – not the pointed type we usually see today.  He sports a silk tie with an oval tie pin – looks like it might have an initial, but too difficult to tell.  I love his buffalo chain – could this hold a pocket watch?  Usually you find that on the waistcoat.

The back of this card is different – notice the AZO area for the stamp.  This was an AZO postcard produced by Eastman Kodak.  There are several varieties of this postcard – diamonds, triangles or squares in the corner.  Four diamonds represent the time period 1907-1909.  Four triangles facing up, as in this example, are from 1904-1918.  Two triangles up and two down are from 1918-1930.  And four squares are from a few years later, 1926-1940’s.

  The last photo postcard is of a gentleman and two ladies.  Could this be brother and sisters?  The ladies hair and their dresses would both tell us this is from around 1910, even if it didn’t have the four upward facing triangles as in the example above.

I hope this helps with dating your real photo postcards.

2 replies »

  1. I have a postcard written to my great grandfather from his sister. It shows Main St., Victor, NY. Dated 1908. I tried to show it here but was not able to.

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