My Fascination with WWI Mail

I came across this article today about the mail service during WWI and thought I’d share it. It actually compliments the historical exhibit I worked on last year quite nicely. You can find that here. I do have a soft spot in my heart for WWI, and postcards, so I’ll ramble on some more.

Just like the BBC News article states, correspondence was big business in wartime but it was treated as an extension of the military. In my research for the exhibit I came across several postcards of postal service-men and women, and also postcards that were inscribed and marked with an X. The postcard below is an example of both these kinds of cards. The sender has marked a big X, that he calls a “cross” in the inscription on the back, by the depot where he “hauls” mail every week.

Marked and inscribed postcard.

Marked and inscribed postcard.

Marked and inscribed postcard.

Marked and inscribed postcard.

In Then Came a Post, I wrote a panel titled, “Locating Oneself.” My thesis was that soldiers marked and inscribed postcards to create a “monument to personal memory,” and, “to validate their (personal) experiences.” Since this postcard isn’t postmarked, it’s probable that this soldier either wanted to preserve his own memory about the war, or he wanted to have something to share with a loved one back home that could give a visual of where he spent his days during the war. Pretty cool stuff.


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  1. #1 by Chris Cantwell on February 12, 2014 - 8:08 pm

    Wow! It’s great to see you really taking to blogging, Emma. I love that you’re rounding out the required posts with more formal and informal reflections on your work. A post like this could easily be incorporated into your about page, too.

    The only question I have is, do you know that these images are copyrighted? Where did you get them and can you share them? I’d encourage you to provide citations and links back to the source.

    But again, great to see you blogging!

  2. #2 by emmaspeaks74 on February 12, 2014 - 10:55 pm

    It’s weird on WordPress because when I uploaded the images I had to fill out a box for a description and caption, which I did with the citation, but now that it’s posted I have no idea how to access that information without editing the photo, so I don’t think that information is available to the reader. Initially, I thought that if you just scrolled over the photo the information would pop up, but that’s not the case. The postcard photo is one of the photos we took at the WWI Museum for our exhibit, by the way.

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