Historic Hemp Postcards
Who says you can’t mail cannabis?
Potography is excited to bring you our new historic hemp postcards!
Each of these old fashioned postcard designs is approximately 100 years old and depicts a typical 20th-century hemp farm in Kentucky.
We’ve retouched each historic postcard image to ensure the highest possible print quality on one of our favorite hemp paper stocks.
This collection includes 8 authentic postcard designs depicting American hemp farmers.
Each card can be purchased individually or you can purchase all 8 as a set.
Potography historic hemp postcards are 4″ x 6″ and made with 50% hemp paper. The postcards are printed-to-order before being carefully packaged and shipped from our home-based print studio in Washington, DC.
Milled at a carbon-neutral facility using 50% hemp and 50% post-consumer waste, the FSC-certified hemp paper used for these postcards is one of the most sustainable paper stocks in the world. It’s acid-free, archival quality, and features a laid texture and uncoated finish that makes the final product look and feel like an authentic piece of history.
It’s the perfect paper stock for recreating historic hemp postcards and prints!
Historic Hemp Postcards Product Specs:
- 4″ x 6″ postcards
- Eight (8) designs
- Authentic historic images on the front, vintage postcard layout on the back*
- Acid-free, archival hemp paper
- 50% hemp, 50% post-consumer waste
- FSC-certified paper milled at a carbon-neutral facility
*The artists who created the original postcard graphics are unknown. Please contact us if you have any additional information; we love learning about hemp! Images sourced from Global Hemp and the Library of Congress.
Hemp Postcard Designs
1) “A Kentucky Hemp Field” (with farmer)
Direct from the Library of Congress, the image on this postcard depicts a typical 19th-20th century hemp harvesting setup.
After shocking the sufficiently retted hemp stalks in the field, farmworkers would bring their wooden hemp brakes right up to each shock, breaking every bundle of hemp stalks until the entire crop has been processed into fiber.
In this image, you can see the ground covered with woody pieces of hemp stalks that were separated from the rope-like bast fiber the farmer is holding. These woody pieces, called hemp hurds, were seen as trash in those days. Today, however, hemp hurds are processed into a wide variety of end products from paper and animal bedding to composites and building materials.
2) “Breaking Hemp in Kentucky”
This postcard shows hemp farmers using wooden hemp brakes. Hemp farmers in that era would set up their brakes right next to the hemp shocks they carefully arranged in the days prior.
Shock by shock, the farmers would break the hemp stalks to separate and retrieve the valuable bast fiber. The inner core fiber, called hurd or shiv (some say “shive,” too), was usually burned or discarded.
Breaking hemp was widely regarded as one of the most difficult and unpleasant jobs of its time due to the incredible durability of the hemp plant and the back-breaking nature of the job (no pun intended!).
3) “Cutting Hemp in Kentucky”
This image shows three farmers cutting hemp by hand in Kentucky. After cutting the hemp, farmers would then typically spread the stalks evenly across the field, which starts the process of “retting,” or letting the stalks rot.
Retting makes it easier to separate the bast fibers from the hurd, which is an important step in the process of turning hemp into clothing, rope, paper, and more. Today, we can process unretted hemp stalks mechanically using machines called decorticators.
4) “Cutting Hemp, Winchester, Ky.”
This postcard shows farmers cutting hemp in Kentucky using a horse-powered harvesting machine.
This must have been an advanced piece of equipment for the time, but we can’t wait to see what humans can do with hemp using 21st-century technologies.
5) “Cutting Hemp by Machine, in Kentucky.”
We like this design because you can see a very well-behaved dog sitting and admiring his human friends at work.
6) “Shocking Hemp in Kentucky”
This image shows several men working in a hemp field during harvest time and is titled “Shocking Hemp in Kentucky.” “Shocking” hemp refers to the practice of bundling hemp stalks and stacking them in the field after retting. But it’s not as simple as it looks, and if not done carefully, it can drastically reduce the quality of the fiber.
Hemp farming was one of the most labor-intensive jobs on the planet, with the vast majority of work occurring during harvest. This is one reason why hemp production declined in the decades following the invention of the cotton gin; it was simply too hard to justify the labor expenses of operating a hemp farm when similar imported fibers (like Manila hemp, which is not the same as cannabis hemp) could be purchased for a much cheaper price.
Despite these market disadvantages, hemp remained an important crop due to its unmatched durability and wide range of applications, and the industry managed to survive even the most ruthless government-sponsored prohibition efforts.
7) “Hemp Breaking, near Frankfurt, Ky.”
The image on this postcard shows a man “breaking hemp” on a farm near Frankfurt, Kentucky. Breaking hemp is the process of separating the outer bast fibers from the stalk’s inner woody core, also called hurds, shiv, or shives.
Hemp is a low-maintenance crop while it grows, but once harvest time comes around, it’s all hands on deck! Breaking hemp was a crucial part of the harvesting process, and it was also considered to be one of the most difficult jobs of its time.
8) “A Kentucky Hemp Field”
This postcard image shows a Kentucky hemp field bordering a river. The farm is covered from end-to-end with hemp shocks, which means it’s ready to be processed.
The next step in the harvest would typically be breaking the retted hemp to separate the outer bast fibers from the inner woody core.
Hemp Paper for Cannabis Art
We believe cannabis-inspired art should be printed on cannabis-based paper.
We’re beyond excited to be part of the global movement to rebuild the hemp industry!
Starting with our stationery and fine art prints, we’re showing the world what cannabis can do.
Why Hemp Paper?
Hemp paper isn’t better by default just because it’s made from our favorite plant; it’s better because it’s more versatile, more sustainable, and longer-lasting than tree-based paper.
- Hemp paper feels like a high-quality, premium product (because it is!)
- Hemp paper will generally outlast tree paper. It’s acid-free and contains very little lignin, which means it won’t turn yellow and fall apart as tree paper does
- Hemp paper is good for the environment. Hemp requires fewer inputs to grow and process and produces more paper per acre than trees with less toxic chemicals
- Cannabis-inspired art printed on cannabis paper is at least twice as cool as cannabis-inspired art printed on trees (just kidding… sort of)
Potography is a community for cannabis-inspired artists founded in 2019. Through our monthly photo contests, Potography promotes gratitude and appreciation for cannabis and the community of artists it inspires.
We print as many products on hemp as we possibly can because we believe hemp is an under-utilized resource with unmatched sustainability attributes and market potential.
Potography strongly believes cannabis prohibition (in all forms, including purchasing limits in legal states, plant count limits, etc.) is a gross injustice and the only criminals involved in cannabis are those who seek to keep the plant away from others through prohibition, regulatory capture, or any other legal or non-legal means.