The Digital Initiatives department at the University of Idaho announces the release of the Northwest Historical Postcards Collection.
This digital collection of over 800 postcards comes from the historical photograph collections of the University of Idaho Library’s Special Collections & Archives. The postcards range in date from the 1890s to the 1980s and depict a great deal of the northwestern United States and southwestern Canada.
From hand colored images of Mount Rainier to the historic streets of early Moscow, Idaho, the Northwest Historical Postcards Collection displays unique and engaging images of people and places in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century Northwest. Portraying locations in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, British Columbia and Alberta, the collection offers a glimpse at the historical and cultural development of the western states, with rare depictions of turn-of-the-century buildings, thriving mining towns that later became ghost towns, and Mount St. Helens before the eruption.
Users can scroll through the entire collection via the index page; hovering on an image will provide more information, and, in many cases, a view of the postcard’s back as well. Users can also browse by location, subject, and via a Google map. The advanced search feature on the table page should also be useful for users looking for specific images. The postcards were digitized and described by Annie Gaines in 2012-2013.
The History of the Postcard
Postcards originated in Europe in the late nineteenth century as an inexpensive means of communication, and the cards quickly became popular in America. In the early twentieth century, the U.S. Post Office permitted the use of a divided back card, allowing for both a message and mailing address to be on one side making it possible for the entire front of the card to be used for an image. Since then, millions of color and black and white postcards have been mailed to family and friends across the country.
Information in this entry from the post published 5/6/13, by Devin Becker, Digital Initiatives & Scholarly Communications Librarian, University of Idaho, on libidaho listserve.