Friday, February 8, 2008

Jaunt into Postcard Collecting

I don't really know why I decided I wanted to start collecting postcards--people who know me know I'll go to some pretty extreme lengths to nab a free postcard if I think it is visually appealing. (Katie from Subtropical Paradise had to pull her car over during Mardi Gras traffic in the Garden District so I could steal one with a picture of a superhero called NolaMan? Is that right, Katie? Whatever it is, it was a lot of trouble to grab a little piece of paper!) So, I guess it's not surprising that I decided to expand into actually collectable postcards. I am leaning toward covering a wall in postcards. I've got the wall picked out and, well, I have enough postcards to cover at least three feet squared, but clearly I've got to collect a lot more before I can finish this project. That's why I'm hitting up a flea market tomorrow with my mom. The above postcard is so beautiful. I am not sure of its era, but I can tell you, it's definitely a farm from my part of Maine. And by my part of Maine, I mean the non-coastal region. It reminds me of Maple Syrup Sunday, when maple syrup farmers open their sugar shacks to the public and serve fresh, hot maple syrup on top of vanilla ice cream! Yum!

This card is the oldest in my nascent collection. You can't tell from the scanned image above, but this postcard is embossed with a fine filigree, meaning it is pleasing to the touch and the eyes. I couldn't resist this turkey, especially since my family is so into Thanksgiving. And if Thanksgiving is not "Our National Holy Day," it certainly is "Our Family's Holy Day." I don't need to recap the entire 1848 covered wagon, happy family circle, persimmon trees walk bit here, but I will say, I love Thanksgiving and I'm awfully glad to own this little piece of history. The turkey wearing a hat also recalls all those crazy pictures of politicians (say presidents, governors, etc.) pardoning a turkey in publicity stunts pre-holiday. Those pictures always involve turkeys in patriotic hats.

Yeah, so, what's the draw for this one? I will grant you that this is less interesting visually than the rest of my postcard collection, but I bought this postcard because it shows baby Dallas, back in the day. The back tells you quite an interesting collection of facts about Dallas: "Dallas is the Nation's largest inland cotton market -- practically one-half of the cotton crop of the Nation is produced within twelve hours ride. Dallas leads the world as an oil center -- more than 65 % of the oil of the United States is produced within easy overnight travel by rail." Well, none of that stuff is true anymore. But, hey, if it hadn't been true at the time this postcard was written, Dallas would never be the city it is today. I love this bridge. I *think* I have driven over this bridge a few times myself. The street lamps look familiar. Of course, I could be wrong. I'll have to ask my dad about this stuff... He always knows (even though he's not a Dallas native).

Above is another great Maine postcard, and below is a great Dallas postcard. Do you sense a theme? I decided I'd only buy postcards that have an emotional appeal for me personally. Of course, this goes against the advice of postcard collecting books (I read an article from one online, I'm not that into it), but that's the point to me. To collect things that make me happy, things that I can look at and have memories of. Thus, Dallas and Maine are two sources of memories. I never saw that Maine signpost, but I've been to a lot of those towns and worked with people from a few of them. And John Nealy Bryant's cabin is--aside from the JFK drive--the historical spot in downtown Dallas. So I wanted a postcard of that, too.


  1. just fyi, sue woodward wrote a book about postcards. here it is for sale on

  2. I think his name was nola hero...