Friday, December 11, 2015

Wayne Tucker Postcard Collection

Before the rise of Email and Facebook, postcards were a quick and easy way to keep in touch with friends and relatives. Postcards really became popular at the turn of the 20th Century and postcard collecting, uncommonly known as Deltiology, followed soon after. One such collector was former Glenville resident, Wayne Tucker. Mr. Tucker passed away recently and  graciously willed his postcard collection to the Schenectady County Historical Society. Mr. Tucker was an avid collector of postcards and the donated collection comprises 19 binders filled with thousands of postcards, trade cards, and other ephemera. The majority of the postcards relate to the City of Schenectady, but they also cover many of the towns and villages in Schenectady County. The collection is quite comprehensive and will often have postcards of the same place or landmark from different years, showing how it developed over time. Since there are postcards from various time periods, the collection also shows how postcards evolved over time. Below is a sample of the collection, but be sure to visit the Grems-Doolittle Library at the Schenectady County Historical Society to view the whole thing.

Illustrated postcards of city scenes were very popular and are some of the most common. This one shows the Van Curler Hotel from the Scotia side of the Great Western Gateway Bridge.

Freed's Big Liquor Store was founded in 1898 on Broadway in Schenectady. Herman Freed operated the store until prohibition hit the U.S. He then temporarily retired from the liquor business to open Schenectady's first used car dealerships. In 1934, Mr. Freed opened another liquor store at 111 Broadway. 
Schenectady after the blizzard of February 14, 1914. This is an example of a real photo postcard. This type of postcard is often unlabeled as any extra printing required more money than many postcard printers were willing to spend.
This postcard shows the bird's-eye view of Rotterdam Junction.  

Many of the real photo postcards show scenes from everyday life. The first postcards features the Scotia Fire Department, along with the baby of  one of the firefighters. The second shows men working on Mariaville Road/State Route 159.

Along with postcards, this collection also has quite a few trade cards. By the 1880s, many businesses used trade cards to advertise their goods. This card advertises the rejuvenating powers of Burdock Blood Bitters.

 Similar to modern advertisements, businesses used cute animals and kids in their advertisements. I'm not sure what a cat playing with a sword has to do with H.F. Smith's One-Price Clothier, but I would shop there after seeing this card.

Staff and volunteers have started indexing this collection and the index should be on our website in the next few months. A big thanks goes out to Wendy LeBlanc and the family of Wayne Tucker for facilitating the donation.

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