Wish you were here.

Long before Facebook, Twitter and even Myspace and the internet itself, there were just a few ways to brag about your vacation. Sure you could whip out the old projector and hold your friends hostage while showing them your home movies (or worse–slides!) of your vacation, but the cool way was to just send them a postcard with a simple message: “Wish you were here.”

Postcards, often free at the hotels and motels were mostly photos of the establishment’s pools…and of course the happy guests surrounding them. Postcards were introduced in the mid-nineteenth century as a cheap and easy way for people to keep in touch. The Golden Age for postcards was the turn of the twentieth century and they were widely circulated and collected. They offered a glimpse of the world when the public had limited access to pictures and travel.

But, we’re not writing this to just talk about those wonderful postcards. It’s the pool in the cards that have captured our attention. For both small and large hotels and anything in between, postcards were a primary means of advertising and used as a window to postwar American culture. And the star of those advertisements was…yep– the pools. At the time more and more people felt that a pool in a hotel or in a backyard was part of the American dream.

Check out some of these beautiful postcards featuring pools. So kitschy. So very Americana. So classic. Which one is your favorite?

Photos: Pinterest