Many of us historians love to collect historical artifacts, ephemera, and other items. Personally, I collect vintage postcards as well as ephemera connected to Winn Parish, Louisiana, where I grew up and still have family. The vivid colors and interesting visuals of vintage linen postcards are quite appealing, especially large-letter greetings postcards like the Charlotte one below.
Postcards provide a detailed look into travel, cultural events, and everyday life. They also give me an excuse to do research, but then again, I can always find a reason to do some digging. I’ve kept a blog for whenever a postcard piques my interest. In some instances, I stumbled upon some very interesting information. Did you know that Tazewell, Virginia was one of the smallest towns in the United States to have its own streetcar line? Or that Bringhurst Golf Course in Alexandria, Louisiana is the oldest par-3 course in the nation? Fun stuff!
If you are doing any research projects and require some snappy images, consider using postcards. Two major historic printers of linen postcards have repositories online with scans free for scholarly use: the Curt Teich Postcard Archives at the Newberry Library and the Tichnor Brothers Collection through the Boston Public Library. Special Collections at UNC Charlotte also has a trove of local postcards in the Mary Boyer Collection. Happy hunting!