Today, the Golden State is famous for its awe-inspiring, redwood-filled national parks and its winding coastal highways dotted with bright orange California poppies. However, many of the state’s first postcards captured a different side of the landscape—a dog-eat-dog frontier where underpaid immigrants worked their fingers to the bone. As for the natural world, it was a force to be reckoned with, as seen in postcards following San Francisco’s 1906 earthquake and fire, which depicted the burgeoning metropolis as a pile of rubble.

After the Great Earthquake, the city rebuilt quickly in order to host the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition, affirming its resilience in the eyes of the world. The fair’s organizers hired photographers from the Cardinell-Vincent Co. to capture the event’s lavish pavilions and landscaped grounds on beautiful hand-colored postcards.

California also inspired some unconventional companies to get in on the postcard business, like the Pacific Coast Steamship Co. and the Union Oil Co., which added to their profits by printing colorful Photochrom postcards of California destinations. Other publishers focused on particular themes, like Sing Fat & Co.’s images of life in San Francisco’s Chinatown or Frasher’s, Inc.’s imagery of the state’s open landscape still populated by Native Americans. Eventually, postcards captured California’s leap into modernity with its abundant farmland, freeways, and, of course, movie-studios.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Carthalia

Carthalia

Andreas Praefcke's postcard collection of theatres and concert halls worldwide. Showcases 3700 images of over 1810 … [read review or visit site]

Tall Tale Postcards

Tall Tale Postcards

Don't let this one get away from you. This 'unbelievable' collection, from the Wisconsin Historical Society, featur… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Massive 480 Pc. California Postcard Album Early 1900's. Single Owner- Hanford CaCalifornia Ca Yosemite Park Wawona Drive Through Tree Mariposa Grove Postcard PcVtg Mission Inn Riverside California Metal Safety Match Holder Memorabilia(4668The Goose Neck Sulpher Mt Springs Ventura California Besaw ? Sproules Photo Rppc1909 Truckee Nevada California Spring View Train Hand Colored Behrendt Post CardRppc Postcard Dining Room Glacier Point Hotel Yosemite CaVintage Rppc 1910 L.a. California Harley Davidson Motorcycle Old Photo PostcardEl Cajon Valley View Homes Road San Diego Grossmont California Photo RppcRppc Bolinas Ca Marin Co Near Mill Valley San Rafael Stinson Beach 1916 Photo PcOrange County And Santa Maria Railroad Motor Trolly Rieder Hand Color Post CardCalifornia Ca Mariposa Grove Big Tree Wawona Postcard Old Vintage Card View PostCalifornia Ca Yosemite Valley Big Trees Postcard Old Vintage Card View Standard 1930s San Luis Obispo, California - Real Photo Gas Station & Auto Camp, Roadside1940s Pismo Beach, California - Real Photo San Luis Obispo Co. Historic Postcard1908 Jackson Amador Labor Day Street Parade Band Saloon Lodging Mcgary Post CardBerkeley Alameda California Bancroft Way And Telegraph Ave Street Card Post CardJackson Amador Argonaut Mine Mining California Post Card View1909 Santa Barbara Ca Gaviota Pass River Bridge Newman Colored View Post CardMorro Bay Ca Morro Rock Real Photo Postcard 1944Rppc Nordhoff Ojai Ca San Antonio Creek Ventura Co 1910 Mitchell Real Photo California Ca San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge Postcard Old Vintage Card View PcCalifornia Ca San Francisco Bay Region Postcard Old Vintage Card View Standard1918 Era Rppc Lake Tahoe Railway & Traction Co Engine & Train @ Depot California1915-30 Rppc Ojai Ca. Arcade Stores Cars Great Image Real Photo PostcardMassive 480 Pc. California Postcard Album Early 1900's. Single Owner- Hanford Ca1909 Ione Amador Ca High School 2 Story Building Message Browning Died Post Card1910 Huntington Beach Orange Ca 1st Nationalo Bank Building Hand Color Post CardGrape Vinyards Foothills Near Jackson Amador California Vila & Piccardo PostcardRppc Capitola By The Sea Ca Santa Cruz Co Beach Scene Vintage 40's Real Photo Rppc Camp Cajon Ca Route 66 San Bernardino Co Near Victorville Picnic Grounds Vintage Frasher Rppc Death Valley Ca Panamint Springs Motor Inn Real PhotoRppc Tioga Pass Hwy Through Lee Vining Canyon Mono Co Near Yosemite Mammoth Ca California San Joaquin & Eastern Railroad Train Sierra Nevada Postcard Rppc Rppc - 20 Mule Team Borax Wagon Wheels, Death Valley Junction, CaliforniaCalifornia Ca San Francisco Cable Car Postcard Old Vintage Card View Standard PcCalifornia Ca San Francisco Beach Great Highway Postcard Old Vintage Card View1913 Jamesetown Tuolumne California Rpo Neville Hotel Railroad Stop Photo Rppc1913 Belden, California - Real Photo Small Town, Plumas County, Feather RiverCollins & Sons Bank Ventura California Wagon Street Corner Photo Post Card RppcHuntington Beach Orange Ca Ocean Ave Wagons New Railroad Depot Woods Post Card1910 Ione Amador Ca Fire Clay Brick Kilns Message Stay At Mining Hotel Miners PcAngels Camp Calaveras California Angels Ice Soda Works Birds Eye Photo RppcZan Rppc-entering Mill Valley-ca-marin Vintage 1913 Riverside Smiley Heights Redlands California Girls Car Old PhotoC1907 Hand-colored Postcard; Lansing Street, Mendocino Ca Horsedrawn, Posted Ca Boulder Creek The Park Mills 1905Rppc A217 Postcard Pinecrest Hotel Tuolumne County CaRppc Route 66 Car On Cajon Pass Ca San Bernardino Co Near Victorville Hesperia Old Rppc Postcard, Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley, Marin County, California1908 Postcard Of The Depot In Crows Landing, California Ca Stanislaus CountyRppc Santa Cruz Ca Mountains Mt View Ranch Resort Swimming Pool 1932 Real Photo Rppc,laguna Beach,ca.boardwalk & Swimming Beach,orange Co.gilmore Photo,c1945California Ca San Francisco Fort Point Lighthouse Postcard Old Vintage Card View2 Amusement Pk Pcds, Magic Mountain Ca: Grand Prix; Sky TowerCalifornia Ca San Francisco Aerial Postcard Old Vintage Card View Standard PostVintage 1940's Wwii Era U.s. Marine Base San Diego California PostcardCalifornia Ca Redwood Highway Park Postcard Old Vintage Card View Standard PostMarkleeville Ca Street View Chevron Gas Alpine Co Nr Lake Tahoe Gardnerville NvAvila Beach Port Hartford Fisherman’s Rock San Luis Obispo Co Near Pismo Beach California Ca Yreka Postcard Old Vintage Card View Standard Souvenir Postal Post