One of my favorite categories of postal librariana is pre-stamped government issued postal cards. Libraries made heavy use of these cards to conduct library business, and they provide an interesting look at library procedures of the past. The postal card (see above) featured in this blog post concerns interlibrary loan and was mailed to the Library of Congress by the Cornell University Library on August 14, 1931. The hand written note on the message side of the card indicates that three books borrowed on interlibrary loan are being returned "express prepaid". A notation at the top of the cards indicates that the books were received by the Library of Congress. The front of the card has several special markings. All mailed received by the Library of Congress was stamped with a date received stamp by the Mail & Delivery Division. In addition to that stamp this card has a date received stamp for the Secretary's Office. There are also "Reading Room" stamps and an "Inter-Library Loan" stamp. Interlibrary loan was initiated by Librarian of Congress Herbert Putnam in 1900. It was a major factor in establishing the Library as a national library and not just a library for Congress.
Daniel W. Lester Library Postcard Collection
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