• In Living Color: The Forgotten 19th-Century Photo Technology that Romanticized America Every few centuries, someone rediscovers America. After the first humans arrived from Asia roughly 15,000 years ago, Vikings touched down in Newfoundland in the year 1000. Half a millennium later, Christopher Columbus spotted a small island in what is now the Bahamas, and in 1769, Gaspar de Portolà was the first European to gaze upon San Francisco Bay, whose indigenous people had remained hidden b…
  • The Real Mermaids of San Marcos, Texas The springs of the San Marcos River in central Texas have plenty of extraordinary traits: Each day, they release about 100 million gallons of water, forming the life source for one of the longest-inhabited places in North America. They're also the primary habitat for several endangered species, including a blind salamander found nowhere else on earth. Yet the most magical thing about the San Marco…
  • Fundraising Postcard for the Graf Zeppelin Immediately following World War I, the German economy was in shambles as it struggled to pay heavy war reparations. The German people suffered greatly under a shortage of consumer goods and hyperinflation. Even the once proud Luftschiffbau-Zeppelin Corporation had to fight for its existence. The few remaining zeppelins in its fleet were given to the Allies, and there was a push to have the comp…
  • Walker Evans, Preeminent Photographer and Passionate Postcard Collector In 1994, I had the great pleasure of acquiring the complete archive of Walker Evans for the Metropolitan Museum. The archive is quite vast, including 30,000 black-and-white negatives and about 10,000 color transparencies. It includes collections of his business and personal correspondence, both letters he sent as well as those he received. It also includes his library and his collections. He had w…
  • When Postcards Were the Social Network I worked for 35 years as a reference librarian with the Madison Public Library and I just got interested in Madison’s history through my reference work. My husband and I collect antiques of various sorts, and as we would go to antique stores or antique shows in malls, I began looking through boxes of old postcards. I just started buying Madison postcards to learn about Madison history. I’m …
  • Attending the Theatre, Via Postcards Andreas Praefcke (Ravensburg, Germany) collects postcards of old and new theatre buildings worldwide. His complete collection can be seen on his website Carthalia. I spoke to him recently about how he got interested in this unique and interesting postcard collecting theme, how he finds cards, and what some of his favorites are. : How did you become interested in collecting postcards featuring T…