Even with smart phones, iPads, and other electronic gadgets, just about everyone on vacation buys some picture postcards, either to send to friends –or just to keep as a reminder of the trip. In the U.S., the first postcards were mailed this week in 1870. For many years, only the post office was allowed to print postcards. Beginning about 1900, private firms were allowed to produce them, and illustrations and photographs began appearing on them. These picture postcards were wildly popular, and by 1908, Americans were sending 678 million postcards annually. Postcards are among the more than 170 billion pieces of mail handled by the U.S. Postal Service each year. Profile America is in its 16th year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.
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