The Library's collection of postcards consist primarily of photograph postcards or colorized postcards based on photographic images. The subjects of the postcards in the collection range from general aerial and river views, to railroads and trolleys, to various buildings, including businesses, industries, churches, hospitals, schools, individual homes, and residential areas. Many postcards also document organizations, prominent indivduals, and events such as floods and parades.
American postcards were first developed in 1873 as a means to send brief messages more easily through the mail. The first American souvenir postcards were printed to promote the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. As a result of this exposure, postcards, "private mailing cards," and "souvenir cards" exploded in popularity. Most of the postcards in the Grems-Doolittle library range from the early-to-mid twentieth century.
A sampling of postcards from our collection is included below. A complete list of the classifications for the collection can be found here.