Exhibit runs through October 21, 2018
Greetings from Tempe – Quite a Little Town Here
Long before our lives were dominated by Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, a simpler form of personal communication allowed us to stay in touch – the postcard. Congress first authorized postcards to be distributed through the mail in 1861. The government issued un-illustrated cards that could be mailed for less than the cost of a letter. Privately printed postcards were also permitted, but the cost of mailing was set at 2¢, instead of 1¢ for government issued cards.
In 1898, Congress lowered the cost of the “Private Mailing Card” to the same 1¢ as Post Office issued cards. That change broke open the floodgates to a new era of communication. People could purchase inexpensive souvenir cards illustrating the places they lived and visited. They could share those memories with friends and families by mail – which was delivered several times a day in many cities like Tempe – creating the Facebook of the era.
Billions of postcards were produced and mailed in the 20th century, leaving an unparalleled legacy of places, events, and experiences. The postcard brought images and stories of the tiny agricultural town of Tempe to a worldwide audience. Greetings from Tempe has assembled nearly 300 historic postcards, which paint an historic picture of our town.
Greetings from Tempe was curated by the CADS – the Central Arizona Deltiological Society. “Deltiology” is a Latin-based word for “the study of postcards. The CADS are a quartet of avid collectors and collaborators with a shared passion for local history – Jeremy Rowe, photographic historian, researcher and writer; Dik Mickle, former Tempe Parks & Recreation Safety Officer; Joe Nucci, former Tempe Historic Preservation Officer; and Vic Linoff, writer, photographer and historian.