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The Monthly Genealogy Newsletter
Vol. 10 No. 07

July 2021 Issue

VINTAGE POSTCARDS FOR GENEALOGY

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The July issue of First Friday Genealogy with Sassy Jane features vintage postcards for US and international locations.

Tens of millions of postcards were produced in the US, Canada, the UK, and Europe. Today they serve as vivid windows into social history. Vintage postcards depict not just scenic spots, but also people at work, leisure, and enjoying travel and hobbies. Public buildings (churches, village squares, city halls) and transportation (especially trans-Atlantic ships) also figure heavily.

On their own, or combined with other sources such as city directories, fire insurance maps, and family histories, vintage postcards add to our understanding of exactly where our ancestors lived.

A few notes before you search:

1. Search websites of postcard collectors for helping dating postcards, from their first appearance about 1865 through to the turn of the 20th-century. 

2. Large postcard collections in institutions are featured in this newsletter, but don't forget to search local research and genealogy libraries, too. eBay, Etsy, and other postcard sites can also yield treasures. 


3. Family photographs were often developed with postcard backs after 1903, especially snapshots made with Kodak cameras. 

Curt Teich Postcard Archives

The mother of all vintage postcard collections is at the Newberry Library in Chicago. The Curt Teich Postcard Archives features 360,000 postcards produced from 1898 through 1978.

Other notable postcard collections have been added, 
from the Detroit Publishing Company Collection, the John High Collection, the V. O. Hammon Company Collection, the Leonard A. Lauder Raphael Tuck CollectionSearch this vast collection by:
For more about the Curt Teich Postcard Archives, click here.

Ancestry Postcard Databases

Australia Historical Postcards
Over 400 historical postcards of Australia.

United Kingdom & Ireland Historical Postcards, 1893-1963
Over 19,000 historical postcards of the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Canada Historical Postcards, 1893-1963
Over 26,000 historical postcards of Canada.

Germany & Austria Historical Postcards, 1893-1963
Over 25,000 historical postcards of Germany and Austria.

Italy Historical Postcards, 1893-1963
Over 13,000 historical postcards of Italy.

France Historical Postcards, 1893-1963
Over 46,000 historical postcards of France.

Sweden Historical Postcards
Over 1,000 historical postcards of Sweden.

US, Historical Postcards, 1893-1960
Over 115,000 historical postcards of the US.

The AtoZee website provides links to postcard clubs and societies in the UK, Canada, the US, and Australia. If you're thinking of buying vintage postcards on eBay, Etsy, cardcow.com, this is a great place to start. 

National Trust Library
Historical Postcard Collection

The National Trust Library Historic Postcard Collection at the University of Maryland preserves unique and engaging images of people and places in early twentieth-century America.

Portraying locations across the United States, the collection provide unique views of American people and architecture, with rare glimpses of buildings or places that may no longer exist or have dramatically altered over time.

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Question or comments on this issue? Let me know.

Have fun getting back out in the world. Those libraries and archives should be opening up soon.

Stay safe! Stay healthy! See you in August.
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