Sunday School & Church

Stories From Sundays.

Put on your Sunday best!

Postcards came to play an important role in strengthening the bonds between individuals and their church and between members of a congregation.

We know, from reading thousands of postcard messages, that Sunday School teachers routinely sent postcard greetings in celebration of the student’s birthday, to announce special events at the Sunday School, or to express concern if the student missed a Sunday School lesson.

Sunday School Superintendents also sent postcard announcements to members of the congregation when the annual Rally Day was scheduled. Rally Days, in the Fall of the year, were festive celebrations of the beginning of the Sunday School year. Many Protestant churches celebrated annual Rally Days. Typically, Sunday School teachers were introduced, students met their classmates, class goals were announced, and the entire Sunday School was recognized at the Rally Day.

Some postcard announcements of the upcoming Rally Day were beautifully illustrated with original art.

In Protestant churches that did not baptize infants, the “Cradle Roll” was a way of recognizing the young child as a member of the congregation.

Postcard announcements of a very young child’s enrollment in the Cradle Roll were often sent to family members and friends who were not members of the church congregation.

Postcard greetings with religious symbols or texts were often sent in acknowledgement of significant life events – births, marriages, or death. These greetings, however, were seldom linked to participation in a particular community of faith and examples of these are not collected in this category.

Expressions of piety were popular subjects of postcards, and his collection includes examples of phrases of the Lord’s Prayer or of the Ten Commandments that were illustrated on series of postcards.

Postcard photographs of clergymen were often mailed to announce the installation of a new leader in a congregation or to announce special meetings or services by a noted speaker.

In many towns or cities, churches were the most prominent or architecturally-significant buildings. Town boosters often included large churches in postcard souvenirs of a community, along with libraries,
courthouses, and large high schools.

Of the thousands of postcard collectors who belonged to postcard clubs, some collected pictures of churches in specific states or regions. In searching through collections of paper ephemera, one can find at times many postcards illustrated with photographs of churches that were mailed to a specific club member.