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National Community Development Block Grant Week

Jun 07

[ARCHIVED] Leather Postcard

The original item was published from June 2, 2021 3:50 PM to February 14, 2022 9:35 AM

Leather Postcard1

 A unique antique leather postcard came to the Lawrence Public Library’s possession via mail in donation. The card features the Lawrence Free Public Library’s original building designed in the Romance Revival Style by George G. Adams in 1892. Unfortunately, the origin line aback the card is unable to be read clearly. The card does appear to have been produced within Boston, the year unknown. The card is housed within our Local History Room collection on the third floor of the library.

This special item has an interesting history considering post card production within the United States. The Golden Age of Postcards falls between 1907-1915; during this time producers often came up with clever new ways of printing. Leather postcards were popular during 1903-1910 as collectible commodities. By 1907 they were banned by the U.S. Postal Service because the cards jammed the sorting machines. The leather cards continued to be sold up until 1910, and people continued to mail them within paper envelopes. In the beginning of postcards, the post office required a one cent stamp if the postcard had no message and a two cent stamp if it contained a message. By 1898 the price was set to one cent regardless of a message.

Leather postcards were normally produced on deerskin; images burned into the surface by a process called pyrography, or “fire-writing”. Tooling presses and dyes were sometimes also used. Collectors often stitched the leather postcards into pillows and wall hangings. Pre-1915 era leather postcards are very soft, which this one indeed is. The card adds an interesting flare to the library’s history collection.

Leather Postcar3Pillow covering stitched together with leather postcards

To learn more about leather postcards:

Written by Lindsey Gazlay