The Original Social Media: A History of Postcards with Sylvia Gurinsky

The Original Social Media: A History of Postcards with Sylvia Gurinsky


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Postcards date back hundreds of years and may have been the original “social media” for travel. Let’s take a look at why postcards became a way of sharing the world – and how they continue to be popular.

As the vacation – or holiday, as it was known early on – became popular during the 1800s, so did “vacation communication.” Advances in technology led to the creation of the postcard during the mid-1800s. Early postcards were basic, with few pictures. But as time went on, this form of “social media” became the most popular way of sending messages about destinations, whether in Europe, the Far East, Africa, or the Americas.

This Conversation will feature the history and evolution of postcards. Changes in art and development in photography will be discussed, and some of the most famous postcard publishers, such as Raphael Tuck and Sons and Curt Teich Company, will be highlighted. We will focus on changes in the social messaging of postcards – from depictions of racism and sexism to postcards that catered to Black, Jewish, and other communities that could not access the full, open vacation experience for many years. We will also address the rise in popularity of deltiology – the collection of postcards. Which are the most popular? Which are most valuable? And which simply brings back fond vacation memories?

Led by an expert on History, Sylvia Gurinsky, this interactive seminar will highlight history and trigger memories. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased knowledge of postcard history.

A native South Floridian, Sylvia Gurinsky is a local history educator and guide for Context Travel, Flamingo Gardens, the Miami-Dade County Women's Park, Florida International University and Nova Southeastern University. She co-hosts the television series "Roadside Florida," produced by the Lynn & Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archives. She worked as a journalist for WPLG-Channel 10 and the Jewish Journal, and as a guide for HistoryMiami Museum. Her honors have included two Florida Associated Press Awards for Editorial Writing and a Peter Jennings Project Fellowship for Journalists and the Constitution at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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