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”)



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    

Vintage Antique 1961 Postcard: Coffee Shop, Disneyland Hotel, Anaheim, Ca Kenneth Shoesmith Art. "atlantis" At Los Angeles, Calif. Royal Mail Lines 19361929 Real Photo Post Card Street Scene, Gold Mining Town, Randsburg, CaliforniaPismo Beach San Luis Obispo California Birds Eye Photo Cafe Royal Post Card RppcVintage Real Photo Postcard Rppc Johannesburg California Near Randsburg MiningReal Photo Life Saving Long Beach Peninsula Washington Boat Ilwaco Coast GuardRedding Shasta California Girls Swim Suits Slide Patterson Photo Post Card RppcLong Beach California Band At Lagoon Resort Farmington Utah 1911 RppcBaseball: Chicago Cubs; Catalina Island; Large Die-cut Pc; Ballpark IllustrationBaseball: 1951 Chicago Cubs Team; Catalina Island, Ca; Real Photo PostcardBaseball: Early Chicago Cubs Action; Catalina Island; Spring Training; Rppc1894 Tuckerton Railroad Long Beach Island New Jersey Railroad Timetable Baseball: Chicago Cubs Spring Training; Catalina Island, Ca; 2 Pc's 4-1-bid1935 Santa Cruz California Real Photo Postcard RppcSanta Cruz County Ca Boulder Creek Ye Alpine Ranch Resort 1927 Photo Rppc1909 Santa Maria Santa Barbara Ca East Side Grammar School Jones Post Card1920 Cambria San Luis Obispo California Bridge Kropp Post Card ViewBaseball: Chicago Cubs Spring Training; Catalina Island, CaDr Jim Stamps Us Multi Franked Special Delivery Garden Postcard Los AngelesCalifornia Ca San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge Marin County Postcard Old VintageAntique 1910 How We Grow Them In California Man Stands By Giant Watermelon PcCalifornia Ca Hollywood Postcard Old Vintage Card View Standard Souvenir Postal California Ca Half Dome Yosemite Park Postcard Old Vintage Card View Standard PcDr Jim Stamps Us Chinese Camp California Postal Card 1934 Dispatch Second ClassBaseball: Wrigley Field, Los Angeles; George Goodale Correspondence; Real Photo 1907 - Betteravia, Calif. Doane Cancel, Union Sugar Co., Santa Maria Valley Pc"some Of Larkspur", Amateur Rppc, Marin County, California, Vintage PostcardFifth Street Oxnard California Vintage Postcard E76Joe Dimaggio Restaurant—vintage Advertising Baseball Yankees San Francisco 1940s1945 Los Gatos California Real Photo Postcard Rppc1906 Private Mailing Card Early Steamer At Moonlight Lake Tahoe Post Card ViewJapanese Tea House, 1905, Pacific Grove, California, Postcard1908 Arroyo Grande San Luis Obispo Ca Birds Eye Hand Color Rieder Post Card ViewOjai Valley Ventura California Wild Grape Vine Near Nordhoff Rieder Post CardVenice,california,los Angeles,1914 Bathing Suit Parade,rppcVintage Real Photo Postcard Rppc Bridge At Wheeler's Hot Springs CaliforniaRppc,mercuryville,ca.deer Resting On A Bed In A Motel Room,sonoma County,c.1945 Ukiah Valley C 1905, Palace Hotel Ad, California, Vintage PostcardC.1909 Rppc Postcard Scene On The Pacific Highway On The Siskiyous, Calif.Wilmington California Canal Street (avalon Blvd) Real Photo Postcard Wilmington Wharf California Str Falcon 1st Vessel In 1913 Real Photo Postcard Vintage Fort Ord Memorabilia From The '40'sCalifornia Ca Hollywood Greetings City Of Stars Postcard Old Vintage Card ViewVintage "this Is Catalina Island" Souvenir Booklet & San Gabriel Valley Area Map1905 Postcard State Hospital Napa CaliforniaDr Jim Stamps Us Chinese Children Traditional Costume Postcard San FranciscoCalifornia Ca Long Beach Nu Pike Postcard Old Vintage Card View Standard Post PcCalifornia Ca San Francisco Gorilla Zoo Postcard Old Vintage Card View Standard California Ca San Francisco Chinatown News Postcard Old Vintage Card View PostAntique Rppc Real Photo Postcard Album Americana,travel, Cali, Beach, VictorianLivermore Alameda California Annual Rodeo Aeroplane View Lawless Bear Photo RppcBaseball: Los Angeles Dodgers; Vero Beach, Fl; Early Chromes; 2-4-1-bid1908 Ukiah, California - Main Street, Storefronts, Signs, Mendocino Co. PostcardSanta Barbara Ca Banana Farm Mountain Nook Mt Drive Selige Newman 2 Post Cards1921 Los Angeles California Ridge Route The Flag Studio Photo Post Card Rppc1906 Santa Barbara California De La Guerra Mansion Wagons 2 Post Card View Rpo1907 Paso Robles San Luis Obispo Ca Public Park Colored Arnold Post Card ViewVentura California Court House Hand Colored Rieder Post Card ViewSacramento California 19th & 26th Streets Fire Department Engine House Post CardSacramento California 2n 6th 10th 5th Streets Fire Dept 4 Engine Houses Postcard