For a decade or more, beginning around 1954, many fans followed the practice of passing on in their correspondence 3x5 or smaller cards which contained some humorous quote, a comic picture or both. When you received a quotecard, you were supposed to sign it, with or without making a comment of your own, and then pass it on to someone you exchanged letters with other than the fan who sent it to you. The cards were supposed to get back to the originators when they were full and provide some notion of just who was corresponding with whom. The practice simply ran it course and died out. Terry Carr wrote a piece of faanfiction about it entitled "The Fan Who Hated Quotecards," but it's doubtful if anyone really ever felt all that strongly about them. People just stopped doing them; perhaps too many had sent them out without receiving them back and the practice just seemed pointless. In any event, the term is thus archaic.
|From Fancyclopedia 2 ca 1959|
|Cards, usually of index-card size or a bit less, with some motto instinct with Hidden Meaning ("Basingstoke"). First used by the London Circle at the Supermancon in 1954, where a batch that Vin¢ Clarke had run off were passed from hand to hand among fans or, more fabulously, passed out to pedestrians on the street by an intrepid and respectable-looking fan while his confederates lingered in the middle distance to watch the civilian react. This fine fannish recreation was continued at the SFCon with a flock of Hurkle-blue quote-cards manufactured for the occasion by Redd Boggs and DAG. In autumn 1954 Damon Knight, "The Bergenholm of the Quote-Card", made them into short snorter quote-cards and began circulating them in letters. (The modifier derives from a fad among service personnel, during World War II, of collecting money from exotic lands and having it autographed as souvenir.) By the end of the year home-made -- i.e. typed rather'n mimeoed -- quote-cards became popular. The field branched out into miscaptioned photos, and odd items like sweepstakes tickets, religious-crackpot tracts, pieces of wall paper, reproductions of artwork and an infinite lot more. Jean Linard's epiphenomena are a relative of the quote-card.
A number of fans have objected to the short-snorter q-c on such grounds as trouble keeping up with the things, poor taste of some items, questionable value as faaaanish stuff, ktp. The fad had sunk to a low level by the end of 1958.