First postcard was introduced in 1869 in Austria-Hungary by the economy professor Emanuel Hermann.
Soon, postcards appeared in other countries. In 1870, they were introduced in Germany, great Britain and Finland. Two years later, they were already known in Russia. In 1875, their size was standardized as they entered international markets.
On the territory of Poland postcards appeared as soon as the occupiers had introduced them.
First postcards had no images. Their reverse was used for a stamp, the address and the emblem of the country and the obverse for the message. Card showing images started appearing in 1880s.
First Christmas card was created by Thomas Sturrock in 1841. But the concept of sending cards at Christmas time was introduced by Sir Henry Cole, the later director of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Being very busy, he had no time to prepare Christmas cards to be sent to his friends, so he commissioned printing 1000 copies of them. They were illustrated by John Callcott Horsey. It is said that Cole sent some cards with the inscription “Merry Christmas and Happy New year to You” to his family and friends and sold the rest at the price of one shilling per one piece. This tradition of sending Christmas cards spread to many countries and today it is hard to imagine Christmas without colorful cards.
Although our Museum does not hold Henry Cole`s Christmas card in its collections, it is worth visiting because of the exhibition of Christmas cards created by children. These cards sent for the competition launched by our Museum can be admired until 10 February.