In this stunning volume of historical postcards featuring the City of Light, Leonard Pitt takes us deep into the art and heart of the postcard and Paris itself. Showcasing the variety of images from his personal collection, the postcards create an enduring time capsule, one that reveals a Paris that no longer exists.
The invention of the postcard in the nineteenth century revolutionized communication and created the original social networking tool: At the height of their popularity in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, France was producing a million postcards a day, and collecting became a craze that spread around the world.
The postcards here reveal the true artwork of the original medium, from hand-tinting techniques to nostalgic details too small to see with the naked eye: sandwich-board men asleep on park benches, a cheese vendor eyeing a female passerby. The messages penned to loved ones back home are perhaps the most delightful gems: “Bringing your wife to Paris is like bringing a meal to a banquet,” quips one traveler; in another, a young boy writes to his grandparents about the food he misses from home.
In its colorful entirety, Paris Postcards offers an addictively voyeuristic slice of the American experience of Paris in the early twentieth century.