Postcard manufacturers very quickly realised that there was a huge number of collectors out there for their wares. They also realised that if they issued sets with a theme across the cards, people were eager to get each card in the set (people haven’t changed much and this completist desire still fills many of us who collect to this day!). These sets of postcards usually took the form of a poem or song, with each verse being printed on a seperate card, so once the full set was collected the whole poem or song could be read. These words were then paired with suitable artwork, usually of a fairly sentimental nature, which was also linked by style and theme.
The Great War fuelled this demand to even greater heights and provided the postcard makers with a ready source of pathos and sentimentality around which to base their cards. Comon themes were the feelings of loss at parting or bereavement, the condemned prisoner lamenting what had led him to this point etc. Amongst these doleful offerings there were other cards that looked to the future, peacetime and the hope that better things lay over the horizon, as seen in this week’s postcards:
It is hard to date these postcards as the images seem to be a mixture of stock posed photographs and pictures of troops mobilising at the start of the war; the content however suggests that they are more likely to date from the mid to late part of the First World War. Whilst they are a little sickly, the images and sentiments reflect what many ordinary people and soldiers were feeling and were a way of articulating this feeling to their loved ones in a way they might not have been able or comfortable doing in their own words.