In 1902 Kodak offered a preprinted card back that allowed postcards to be made directly from negatives. This technology allowed photographers to travel from town to town and document life in the places they visited. Local entrepreneurs hired them to record area events and the homes of prominent citizens. Real photo postcards became expressions of pride in home and community, and were also sold as souvenirs in local drug stores and stationery shops.
On March 1, 1907, Federal legislation permitted senders, for the first time, to include a message on a portion of the back of a postcard. (Prior to that time, the address only was allowed on one side while the other side could present a photo or artwork.) The front side could then accommodate a full-size real photograph. The popularity of real photo postcards soared nationwide, and many people began collecting the cards in albums. No other single format has provided such a massive photo history of America,particularly of small-town and rural America where photography was often a luxury. Many real photo postcards were unique prints captured by amateur photographers.