Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Japanese Postcard from St. Louis 1904


I recently purchased a Japanese postcard on eBay that was mailed from St. Louis, MO on October 20, 1904 to a Mrs. Alice Stevens at the Library of Congress. I have an extensive collection of postal items mailed to and from the Library of Congress and this seemed like an interesting addition to the collection. After all, its not every day that you find a Japanese postcard mailed from a location within the United States. The postcard has significance to a library history buff and collector of postal librariana in that it was mailed by a librarian attending the 1904 American Library Association conference in St. Louis. George Eberhart has done an excellent job of recounting the ambience and significance of this conference which took place in conjunction with the St. Louis World's Fair (Louisiana Purchase Exposition). The conference ran from October 17 to October 22. The personal message on the back of the postcard from someone with the initials S. B. P. reads in part: "If I didn't do the Fair I am sure it will entirely "do" me. But it's fun if one takes it leisurely and the A.L.A. is all right." The postcard came from the Japanese Exhibition at the Fair. The postcard is stamped with one of the stamps which is part of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition postal issue of 1904. It also includes a receivers mark made by the M. & S. Division of the Library of Congress. As Eberhart points out in his article, the American Library Association had a major exhibit at the Fair which was located in the Missouri Building. I have written a previous post about that exhibit. The Library of Congress also had a separate exhibit at the Fair which was located in the U. S. Government Building. That exhibit included a large model of the Library of Congress building of 1897, now known as the Jefferson Building. This was the first direct participation of the Library of Conference in one of the large international expositions.

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