Among my many hobbies is picture postcard collecting. No, I don’t think I have any particularly valuable postcards. At least I keep them semi-organized in some old cigar boxes. Because this is National Photograph Month, I decided to share a few of them with you.
Picture postcards are a mainly 20th Century phenomenon. Their popularity was fueled, in large part, by tourism. Picture postcards were ubiquitous cheap souvenirs that were displayed on racks in gift shops at tourist sites, airports, bus stations, and gasoline stations. Localized picture postcards were also marketed at drug stores and supermarkets.
Whenever our family took car trips to vacation spots, I usually bought a few postcards. Some were sent to friends and some were saved to stash in a cigar box. I liked them because they were inexpensive, and the photographs were much nicer than the snapshots I could take.
The first two of today’s images are Nebraska photos. The picture of the highway interchange is a postcard that was given out free to motorists by the Nebraska Department of Roads. It was a promotional effort to celebrate the completion of Nebraska’s stretch of Interstate 80. The highway department was proud of the fact that Nebraska was the first state to do so.
The most famous building in Nebraska is a popular tourist attraction in Lincoln. Ever since its completion in 1932, the state capitol has been lauded as one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. I include this postcard because dad used to work in a capitol tower office. The card came from the small gift shop on the first floor of the building.
If you ever stopped in Kansas, chances are that you may have found at least one postcard with a reference to the “Gunsmoke” teevee show. The series enjoyed a 20-year run and re-runs are still broadcast on some satellite and land based television channels. I picked up this postcard during a day trip to Dodge City.
Canada is one of my favorite places on Earth. I especially appreciate their many attractive city parks. During one of my visits to Winnipeg, Manitoba, I drove to the neighboring city of Selkirk. I bought a few cards at a gasoline station in that town.
The picture of a Flathead Indian was purchased at a small cafe in Montana. I liked the powerful pose of the man against a backdrop of ubiquitous Montana mountains.
Even though I’ll probably never make a monetary profit from my postcard collection, at least I can bring them out on rainy days and handle some nostalgic souvenirs.
The Blue Jay of Happiness likes this advice from Miss Manners: “For email, the old postcard rule applies. Nobody else is supposed to read your postcards, but you’d be a fool if you wrote anything private on one.”