I found a great article awhile ago at Postcardy.com from a 1902 issue of Cosmopolitan titled “The Postal-Card Craze.” In it, a visitor describes different areas in Europe and their relationship to postcards. He even mentions hold to light cards. Here is my favorite section from the article:
“The Germans are fondest of these souvenirs, the French much less so, the English still less. The French outside Paris make a comparatively thin exhibit of these instructive, amusing or purely artistic trophies for tourists, and one seldom sees the French people using them. I fancy that the masses there are too thrifty to spend double as much as is actually necessary when writing a message for the post. In England one see pictures of St. Paul’s. the Tower. the Tower Bridge, Temple Bar, and indeed of all the notable landmarks; a collection of military types; and an especial type seen nowhere else—”illuminated cards” that show buildings and streets which, when the cards are held against the light, appear to be suffused with the glow of many lamps. The Marquis of Salisbury said in the House of Lords last summer that “the English are not an artistic people,” and naturally one does not look for such a variety of beautiful, often truly artistic cards as the Germans, the French, the Dutch and the Italians produce.
But Germany is the land of the souvenir postal card, and the Germans and Austrians appear to use these cards almost as freely as the foreign tourists. I spent two months of the past year among the Germans, and I saw them writing on these cards everywhere—in the railway cars and stations, in the beer-halls and restaurant-gardens, in the shops and, indeed, in any place where pen or pencil could be had.”
Seeing as I am English, German, and French, I suppose it’s the German in me that shines through when it comes to postcards 😀