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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
Marshall Cohen—researcher and producer, CNN

Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


From Encyclopedia Dubuque
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Post cards provide glimpses of life years ago.

POST CARDS. Post cards were being seen in the mail around May of 1873, but none had been brought to the city for sale. One side carried the address of the sender. The first cards cost one cent each. (1)

Dubuque was the second city in Iowa to receive post cards. A shipment of five thousand was received at the very end of May, 1873. Orders were booked for another eleven thousand. (2) The Dubuque Herald announced that fifty thousand cards had arrived in Dubuque on August 5, 1873. (3)

In May 1874 it was announced that postcards could be mailed to Switzerland for two cents through a treaty negotiated between the two countries. (4)

Postcards remained in scarce supply as late of 1885. On September 29, 1885 a short article in the Dubuque Herald announced that a shipment of 25,000 cards had been received at the post office the following day. Demand, however, was so great that they were to be sold in limited numbers so that more people had an opportunity to have some. (5)

A History and Checklist of Dubuque Postcards, an index of local postcards, was written by Betty Weiland, a former president of Postcard Pals, a collectors group.

Postcards' "Golden Age," around the time of the [[FLORAL PAGEANT] illustrated scenes of Dubuque with drawings. Recently discovered postcards showing the pageant were distinctive because they used photographs. These were known as REAL PHOTO POSTCARDS (RPPC).



1. "Caught on the Fly," Dubuque Herald, May 16, 1873, p. 4. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=uh8FjILnQOkC&dat=18730516&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

2. "Postcards," Dubuque Herald, June 1, 1873, p. 4. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=uh8FjILnQOkC&dat=18730601&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

3. "Caught on the Fly," Dubuque Herald, August 6, 1873, p. 4. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=uh8FjILnQOkC&dat=18730806&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

4. "Caught on the Fly," Dubuque Herald, May 1, 1874, p. 4. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=uh8FjILnQOkC&dat=18740501&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

5. "Caught on the Fly," Dubuque Herald, September 29, 1885, p. 4