I decided to sort the postcards chronologically, using the postmark or handwritten date to order them. The first set was easy to order by date, and I then scanned both front and back of the postcards onto the computer. I felt that ordering them by date allowed a natural narrative to form, especially when multiple postcards were sent on the same day or during the same trip. The postcards form a diary-like record of events, which is revealed when they are organised by time period.
I then decided to also order the larger 160 piece set of postcards chronologically. Initially I sorted the postcards into piles based on decade, for example 1950s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and 2000s. Then I broke these piles down into individual years, such as 1968, 1969. I finally sorted these 1 year piles into month, day and time. Through sorting the postcards, I noticed patterns emerging- the decimalisation in 1971 meant that the prices of 1960s stamps changed from old pence (D) to new pence (p). I noticed the recipient’s Mr. and Mrs. Chamberlain changed addresses several times throughout their lifetimes but remained in Nottingham. I noticed the same people would sent the Chamberlain’s postcards from their holidays, and that during the summer months, more postcards were received. I could piece together relatives, through their names and the way they addressed Mrs Chamberlain (e.g. grandmother, mum, Aunty). I could see the places they have travelled and the places which they returned to over the years. I noticed the handwriting of the children, especially Sarah, change over time. In the first postcard she wrote, it is clear that she is young and just learning to write- she’s added backwards numbers to the edge of a postcard. But a couple of years later her writing is smaller and more precise. Similarly, the writing of elderly relatives becomes shakier and changes over time. These small traces of the passing of time are only evident when compared alongside each other, this is why I find the postcards so fascinating. Memories of places and people are documented, and treasured by the recipient. Some of the postmarks were unclear, and so I used other information such as the stamp, or the recipient’s address to order the postcards. There were some blank cards which I do not know the date.