Cover image for The postcard century : 2000 cards and their messages
The postcard century : 2000 cards and their messages
Phillips, Tom, 1937-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Thames & Hudson, [2000]

Physical Description:
452 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 31 cm
General Note:
Includes indexes.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
NC1872 .P42 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

On Order



This work tells the story of the 20th century using images and messages from 2000 picture postcards. The postcards depict the day-to-day life of people and what mattered to them, pleased them, shocked or amused them via the cards they chose to send. Year-by-year the book presents everyone from the high and mighty to the low and the worthy talking about the characters, events and hot spots of the century. Saucy seaside jokes, the disasters of the war, the hazards of travel, the caprices of life in work and leisure - all are pictured and discussed.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Postcards, ubiquitous throughout the twentieth century, depict everything from bathing beauties to battleships, tourist attractions to smutty cartoons, giant vegetables to skylines, while keeping pace with changing aesthetics, social mores, and technologies. Artist and avid collector Phillips sees postcards as invaluable windows onto the attitudes and tastes of their times by virtue of both their images and written messages, and he describes this remarkable and thoroughly captivating assemblage of primarily British and American postcards as a "composite illustrated diary in which nearly 2000 people have made their entries." Phillips' introductory history of the postcard is both entertaining and enlightening, and readers will spend hours absorbing the wealth of information embedded in this fascinating and piquant tour of a century. Each sharply reproduced example of the sublime or the tacky, the mundane or the striking, preserves an impulse to capture a moment and make a connection, and charts the evolution of fashion, humor, feminism, transportation, architecture, and the face of romance and war. Donna Seaman