Friday, September 9, 2011

Messages on Library Postcards

This is a magnificent building. I was telling them that it is not going to compare with ours.
We went all over this library yesterday. It is a fine building too, with a whole room just for the use of the children.
Some people who collect postcards want only those that haven't been used. I, on the other hand, value postcards that have been used more highly than unused cards. As a collector of library postcards, I especially like postcards that include a message that relates to the library pictured on the postcard or a message that indicates that the sender and/or recipient was a collector of library postcards.  For Norman D. Stevens' A Guide to Collecting Librariana (Scarecrow, 1986), Billy R. Wilkinson wrote an article based on his extensive research related to messages on library postcards.  In addition to examining his own extensive collection of postcards, he persuaded other library postcard collectors to do the same. Wilkinson found that the messages fell into four categories: 1) comments on the architecture; 2) comments on the book collection; 3) messages that proclaimed a version of "my library is bigger, newer, prettier, etc. than yours"; and 4) miscellaneous messages (the largest category).  My experience validates his results with the caveat that messages related to the collecting of library postcards would be included in the miscellaneous category. Wilkinson provided many examples of messages, but the one that struck me as the most interesting related to a postcard showing the general reading room of the Widener Library at Harvard. It read: "Here are a lot of greasy grinds I saw at 'HAHVAHD.' The aisle looks like a good place to run off the 100 yd. dash."  Up until 1907 the post office didn't allow written messages to appear on the address side of a postcard. So messages before that year were written on the picture side of the postcard. Some postcards in my collection which include messages from that era are included in this post. 
You could get books enough here to look at. It's full of them.

1 comment:

Hope said...

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