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Literacy Practices and Skills in Early Twentieth Century UK: The Picture Postcard as Social Media: Paper presented in session “Documenting History of Education: Methods, Narratives, and Stories” Division F - History and Historiography, American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, April 11-14, 2024.

Research output: Contribution to conference - Without ISBN/ISSN Conference paperpeer-review

Publication date12/04/2024
Number of pages7
<mark>Original language</mark>English
EventAmerican Educational Research Association Annual Meeting - Philadelphia, Philadelphia, United States
Duration: 11/04/202414/04/2024


ConferenceAmerican Educational Research Association Annual Meeting
Abbreviated titleAERA
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


The picture postcard was a revolutionary means of communication in early twentieth century UK. For the first time, it was possible to combine a short message with an attractive image and send it fast, at little expense. Such an opportunity was not to reoccur until the digital revolution. Three thousand postcards, sent between 1902-1910 have been collected, transcribed and openly digitized. Effectively the social media of its age, picture postcards enable the study of multimodal writing practices and skills. Findings demonstrate how postcard use ballooned, that they were used more by women, yet by people from almost all social classes. Literacy skills were high. Postcard writers drew on letter-writing conventions and interspersed postcards with letters, keeping constantly in communication.