03 November 2023

Fort Custer Friday: The Postcards

Fort Custer related postcards are numerous at the Fort Custer Historical Society. There are eight eras of postcards and Fort Custer has postcards from so of these eras. The eras and examples from Fort Custer's collection are: 

Pioneer Era (Pre-1898) The address was the only thing allowed on the back of the card. Writing was on the front of the card. I haven't found any postcards from this era at Fort Custer

Private Mailing Card Era (1898-1901) no known postcards of this type have been found at Fort Custer. Private Mailing is on the front of these postcards.

Undivided Back Postcard Era (1901-1907)
 The first time the word 'postcard' was used on what we know as postcards. Only the address was allowed on these postcards.This is a 1914 postmarked postcard, but it shows the undivided back. Writing was supposed to be on the front. The back was reserved for the address. This postcard was sent to George V. Orban, Brooklyn, N.Y. The sender is unknown.

Divided Back Era – Golden Age of Postcards (1907-1915) The first-time messages were allowed on the back of postcards along with the address. This covers the WWI era. "Chow Time" shows World War I soldiers eating in a trench. Notice the explanation telling senders where to write the 'correspondence' and where to write the 'name and address'.  

White Border Era (1915-1930) A white border was used to control printing costs during this period. Many of the postcards have white borders. I chose this one for historical value.

Linen Era (1930-1945) Brighter colors were used on paper that resulted in a texture appearance. This linen postcard is of the day room at Percy Jones Hospital in Battle Creek, Michigan. It was sent to Mrs. J.A. Campbell in Berlin, N.H. from Pvt. E.W. Campbell, a patient at Percy Jones Hospital in 1943.

Photochrome Era (1939-1970) New technology was developed that allowed printing on glossy paper with photographic images on the postcards. The 1957 Camp Grayling, Grayling, Michigan postcard shows vibrant colors and was taken from a photograph.

Continental Period (1970-present) Standards for size were introduced during this time. 4" x 6" became the standard in the United States. Today's postcards fit into this category.

Categories for the Fort Custer collection includes: 

Buildings                           Musicians                         Training

Formations                        Weapons                           Personnel        

Maneuvers                        Dormitory Life                 Camp Life

Mess Hall                         Parade Grounds                Arrivals

Recreation                        Exercise                            Uniforms

Vehicles                            Street Scenes                    Engineers

There are a number of Souvenir Folders which have multiple postcards in a set. 

Camp Custer

Camp Custer, Mich

For Home and Country

U. S. National Guard Camp Custer

U.S. National Army Cantonment Camp Custer

In Camp and Out

Fort Custer

Currently, the library is only available by appointment. If you are interested in visiting the library, please contact the Fort Custer Historical Society via their website.

I plan to use my blog to let others know what is available at the Fort Custer Historical Society library. Check back on the first Friday of every month for more information. I will be sharing manuscript information, unique resources, vertical file topics, postcards, photographs, and more.

Previous posts 

Fort Custer Friday: The Library

Fort Custer Friday: Manuscripts

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