RELATED HOLDINGS: Jay Small Postcard Collection (P 0391).
The collection contains postcards of scenes taken in various parts of Indiana, ranging in date from around 1902 to 1986. Most of the cards are from before the 1930s. Subjects depicted on the postcards include aerial views, buildings, events, portraits, street scenes, transportation, water scenes, and other outdoor settings. Those of buildings include banks, churches, courthouses, hospitals, hotels, schools, and more. There are also holiday greetings and postcards related to Hoosier poet James Whitcomb Riley.
Although the postcard has its origins in the 1860s, it was not until 1873 that the United States Postal Service began issuing postal cards. These were pre-stamped, and provided a convenient way for people to send quick messages. From 1873 until 1898, only the USPS was allowed to print postcards for use in this country. On May 19, 1898, Congress passed the Private Mailing Card Act, which allowed private publishers to produce postcards, and authorized their reduced postage rate of one penny, instead of the two-cent letter rate. In 1902 the Eastman Kodak Company took advantage of the postcard's popularity by manufacturing postcard-sized photographic paper on which images could be printed from negatives. This allowed individuals to have portrait postcards made for sending, and professional photographers in smaller towns to make postcards of local scenes and events for selling. Two basic types of postcards are "real photo" and "printed" cards. Real photo postcards are actual photographs, printed from a negative onto postcard stock paper. Printed postcards are photomechanically produced.
Collection guide available in library and online.