EXTENT: 890 postcards (approximately 1.3 linear feet)
ORGANIZATION AND ARRANGEMENT: Postcards are grouped by main subject (listed below under "Subjects") and arranged by their identification numbers (most are printed on the back of the postcard). Identification numbers are formed by a six-character code that coincides to the main subject of the postcard, a three-digit sequential number, and a number that coincides with the year, month, and date of postcard's scan. Main subjects are based upon the primary subject of the postcard. Thus, a postcard with an image of the Concord Free Public Library would have the identification number "CONLIB-123-20150419".
The collection also contains one personal collection, housed separately from the general collection: The Mrs. Malcom Thompson Collection. The postcards are identified by the same subject-based naming convention, but the collection itself is noted in each postcard description.
HISTORY OF THE POSTCARD: Among collectors of postcards, the history of the postcard is divided roughly seven approximate eras. Each era is named for, and marked by, the most prevelent style of postcard at the time. In some cases, like the Private Mailing Card era, these formats were government-regulated. In other cases, the style simply took its name from the printing technology and circumstances of the time .
- Private Mailing Card era (1898-1901): Postcards in America began as a heaviliy government-regulated enterprise. They often did not have spaces for messages, and the back was for the address only. Postcards from this early period, per regulation, have the words "Private Mailing Card" printed on the back.
- Undivided back era (1901-1907): The American government soon shortened the term "Private Mailing Card" to "Post Card"(still required to be printed on all cards) but the back of the postcard remained undivided, with no space for a message.
- Early divided back era (1907-1914): Began with another adjustment to regulations; people were now allowed to write messages on the back of the postcard, although messages could be written on the back ofpostcards going forward, this era was also marked by the processes used, including "collotype, … photolithography or letterpress halftone"(Vaule, 49). The postcards of this time were also often hand-colored. The popularity of postcards and, in the following decades, the Great Depression, brought an austerity in printing techniques that affected the next two eras of postcards.
- White border era (1915-1930): Named for the blank border added to images on postcards to save ink.
- Linen era (1930-1945): Marked by cheaper paper and/or the stylistic incorporation of linen-textured paper and, often, a lower image quality.
- Photochrome era (1939-present): A result of advancements in printing of photographs specifically on postcards. Postcards are often glossy. Although there has been—since the 1970s—a shift to laser, inkjet, and digital printing, the current era of postcards is still designated as "photochrome."
Further, starting in the early 20th century, the real photograph postcard gained popularity. Not belonging to a particular era, real photograph postcards were photographs developed on postcard stock. Because the format was available to professional and amateur photographer, they often document local phenomena.
Postcards were often published by and purchased in the locations their images depicted. Postcard producers in Concord sold their postcards at museums, hotels, dry goods stores, and drugstores (see the Scope and Content note for a list of local publishers and artists of Concord postcards).
"Graphics Atlas."Image Permanence Institute, Rochester Institute of Technology, accessed 2015, http://www.graphicsatlas.org/.
Klamkin, Marian. Picture Postcards. New York : Dodd, Mead, .
Petraulis, Alan. "Metropostcard.com." Accessed 2015, www.metropostcard.com.
Range, Thomas E. The Book of Postcard Collecting. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1980.
"Tips for determining when a U.S. postcard was published," compiled by Todd Ellison, Certified Archivist. Center of Southwest Studies Fort Lewis College, last modified August 7, 2006, https://www.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/M194/PostcardDating.htm.
"TuckDB Postcards." accessed 2015, https://tuckdb.org.
Vaule, Rosamond B. As We Were: American Photographic Postcards, 1905-1930. Boston: David R. Godine Publisher, 2004.
SCOPE AND CONTENT: A growing artificial collection of postcards gathered by the William Munroe Special Collections at Concord Free Public Library. The collection consists chiefly of postcards related to the Town of Concord and its history dating from the early years of postcards, circa 1893, to the present. Most of the postcards in the collection are from the early 20th century, with others dating from the early 19th century and the late 20th century. Postcard formats include traditional postcards, hand-colored prints, lithographs, real photograph postcards and souvenir folders.
The bulk of the postcards center on historical landmarks and places of significance within Concord, with the most postcards having to do with Minute Man National Historical Park, expecially the North Bridge and Minute Man statue by Daniel Chester French. Subjects of the postcard images in general include historical landmarks, documentary images of the area, and images of historical events, places and people. The collection also contains some postcards that are related to Concord insitutions and history, but depict places and events other than Concord, namely postcards related to the Battle of Lexington and Concord in 1775, and postcards related to Minute Man National Historical Park, which is centered in Concord but spans multiple towns around the area of Concord.
Postcards in the Concord Postcard Collection have many different origins, from large postcard producers in Boston, New York and abroad to anonymous local photographers. There are a few prominent Concord publishers and artists in the collection, including Bertha G. Sohier (publisher); Colonial Inn (publisher); Concord Free Public Library (publisher); The Concord Museum (and its predecessor the Concord Antiquarian Society); Edith A. Buck (publisher); G. C. Sweet (publisher); H. L. Whitcomb (publisher); J. W. Craig (publisher); John M. Keyes & Co. (publisher); Keith Martin (photographer); Louisa M. Alcott Memorial Association (publisher); Mrs. G. N. Tanner (publisher); Whitney Pharmacy (publisher) W.W. Anderson Photography Inc. (publisher); Tri-Con Colour (publisher); and Wright Tavern (publisher).
INDEXES: This finding aid includes two indexes. The subject index lists the standardized main subjects of the postcards in the collection along with the total number of postcards that include this subject generally. To view images and descriptions of postcards under a main subject, click on the subject name. To view the index heading with all postcards that include this subject (mainly or generally) click on the number beside the subject name. The index lists terms for finding postcard images and descriptions via their subjects, artists, publishers or general aspects. To view each image, click on the image title in the column next to the index term. The index also includes linked references to main headings and central index terms.
PROCESSING NOTE: In order to provide a more thorough description of the postcards in the collection, the description of each postcard is based upon the Categories for the Description of Works of Art (CDWA), a standard of description developed by the J. Paul Getty Trust. While not all of the CDWA categories are utilized, each descriptive CWDA category identified is listed separately for each postcard.
TITLE [CDWA 3.1, 3.5 and 4.2]: Includes the title of the postcard, as printed in the postcard caption, and the date. If the title was created by the archivist during processing, it is described in brackets. Dates were identified using the approximate era of the postcard, copyright date, or postmark date.
CREATOR [CDWA 4.1]: Artists, publishers and printers involved in the creation of the postcard as printed on the postcard or in brackets as identified during processing.
DIMENSIONS [CDWA 6.1]: Height and width in inches in the format [height] x [width] inches. Postcards are measured at their widest point. The designation of height and width is determined by the orientation of the image on the postcard; a horiztonal image will have a wider width, while a vertical image will have a wider height.
ORIENTATION [CDWA 12]: Horizontal or vertical. Determined by the orientation of the image on the postcard.
DESCRIPTIVE NOTE [CDWA 18]: Includes descriptions of the front and back of the postcard, including the subject of the image on the postcard, any captions, and any logos used. Printed postcards and real photograph postcards are distinguished here, with the era specifically noted in the Style category. Handwritten notes and postmarks are described under the Inscriptions and Marks category.
INSCRIPTIONS/MARKS [CDWA 8]: Relevent notes on the back or front of the postcard added after the postcard was printed. Includes whether postcards have messages, postages stamps or postmarks on them. In some cases there are multiple copies of a postcard, markings on each copy will be indentified in this field. Library markings (e.g. stamps and Dewey Decimal Numbers), and postcard pricing are not listed.
STYLE [CWDA 5]: The era or format—in the case of real photograph postcards—of the postcard,
Style was determined using indicators listed on "Tips for determining when a U.S. postcard was published" compiled by Todd Ellison, Certified Archivist. Center of Southwest Studies Fort Lewis College, last modified August 7, 2006, https://www.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/M194/PostcardDating.htm.
CONTEXT [CDWA 17]: Historical information that explans aspects of, or the origins of, the postcard.
MATERIALS/TECHNIQUES [CDWA 7]: A description of any unique aspects of the physical material of the postcard.
COLLECTING HISTORY [CDWA 23]: The name of the personal or private collection that a postcard, or a copy of a postcard, comes from.
SUBJECT TERMS [CDWA 16.2]: Subject terms based upon the postcard image, printer, publisher, artist and any other relevent facets of the postcard. Based loosely upon the subject headings of the CFPL William Munroe Special Collections photofile.
TAGS [CDWA 16.2]: High-level subject terms based upon the abstract content of the image. Terms are: animals, cemeteries, churches, drawings, events, historical makers, houses, literature, nature, people, photographs, schools, stores, vehicles, and works of art.
PROVENANCE: Concord Free Public Library William Munroe Special Collections began gathering and collecting the postcards in this collection formally in the late 20th century. Most of the postcards were gifts; when the donor was recorded on the postcard, the name is included under the "Inscriptions/Marks" category for that postcard. If the postcard is from a personal collection, the name of the collection is recorded in the "Collecting History" category.
ASSOCIATED MATERIALS: Concord Free Public Library William Munroe Special Collections Photofile (visit Special Collections' Photo order page/reproduction permissings/most requested images page for inquiries about the collections), contains additional postcards collected specifically for the images they contain.
Other collections in the William Munroe Special Collections may contain postcards as part of manuscript correspondence.
Online collections of postcards that include photographs of Concord, or are related to Concord, Massachusetts include: "TuckDB Postcards,"(accessed 2015), https://tuckdb.org; and "The Tichnor Brothers Collection," Boston Public Library, (accessed 2015), https://www.flickr.com/photos/boston_public_library/collections/72157624096090138/.
DIGITAL REPRODUCTIONS AND PERMISSIONS: This finding aid includes thumbnails and selected high-resolution scans of the image-side of the postcards, they may be browsed, with item-level descriptions of the postcards, in two sections (Main subjects A-G and Main subjects H-Z) —along with a supplemental page listing postcards with available high resolution images only— or via a subject index and master index, below. Scans were completed in 2015 and 2016 on an EPSON Expression 11000XL. Thumbnails are 72 DPI; high resolution images are 150 DPI. Physical cropping/printing/light exposure of postcards can cause variations in the quality of the same postcards.
Animated gifs show images from souvenir folders (i.e. postcards encompassing various images on multiple facets); gifs are compliant with W3C Success Criterion 2.3 for photosensitive seizure disorders. Individual scans of images from the souvenir folder postcards are also available.
High resolution images from this collection only—clearly marked "high resolutation image available"—may be used in publication without written permission of the Concord Free Public Library so long as the clearly visible credit line “Courtesy Concord Free Public Library” appears adjacent to the image. Please see our photograph orders / reproduction permissions / most requested images page for information on how to gain permission to use images, obtain high resolution images or images of the backs of postcards, or order prints of images from this and other collections in the Concord Free Public Library William Munroe Special Collections.
PROCESSED BY: Janaya Kizzie, with the assistance of volunteer Carol Gannon, 2015-2016.
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The subject index lists the standardized main subjects of the postcards in the collection along with the total number of postcards that include this subject generally. To view images and descriptions of postcards under a main subject, click on the subject name. To view the index heading with all postcards that include this subject (mainly or generally) click on the number beside the subject name. For a list of terms for finding postcard images and descriptions via their subjects, artists, publishers or general aspects, see the index at the end of this finding aid.
Alcott—Grave [ALCGRV] (2)
Alcott—Home, exterior [ALCHSE] (61)
Alcott—Home, interior [ALCHSI] (33)
Alcott—Literature [ALCLIT] (2)
Alcott—Portraits [ALCPOR] (20)
Alcott—School of Philosophy [ALCSCH] (19)
Assabet River [ASBRIV] (4)
Barrett House [BARHSE] (4)
Barron House and Potter Bake Shop [BPBHSE] (1)
Battle Monument—British side of North Bridge [BATTMO] (47)
Battles of Lexington and Concord, April 19th 1775 [BATTLE] (135)
Bedford Flag [BEDFLA] (4)
Bicentennial 1975 [BICENT] (2)
Bridges [BRIDGE] (3)
British Soldiers, Grave [BRTGRV] (13)
Bull House [BULHSE] (11)
Canoe Club [CANCLB] (2)
Cemeteries—Main Street [CEMMST] (2)
Cemeteries—Old Hill [CEMOHL] (8)
Cemeteries—Sleepy Hollow [CEMSLP] (33)
Churches—First Parish Church [CHCFPC] (18)
Churches—Saint Bernard's Church [CHCSTB] (2)
Churches—Trinitarian Congregational Church [CHCTCN] (2)
Churches—Trinity Episcopal Church [CHCTEC] (2)
Churches—Union Church, West Concord [CHCUNI] (1)
Colonial Inn [COLINN] (17)
Concord Authors [CONAUT] (3)
Concord Free Public Library [CONLIB] (23)
Concord High School [CHSSCH] (3)
Concord humor [CONHUM] (2)
Concord landmarks [CONLMK] (6)
Concord maps [CONMAP] (1)
Concord Museum [CONMUS] (42)
Concord River [CONRIV] (82)
Davis House [DAVHSE] (1)
Deaconess Home [DEAHOM] (4)
Elm Street [ELMSTR] (1)
Emerson School [EMSSCH] (4)
Emerson—Grave [EMSGRV] (17)
Emerson—Home, exterior [EMSHSE] (54)
Emerson—Home, interior [EMSHSI] (6)
Emerson—Literature [EMSLIT] (3)
Emerson—Portraits [EMSPOR] (13)
French, Daniel Chester [FREPOR] (62)
Hapgood Wright Town Forest [HWTFOR] (1)
Hawthorne, Nathaniel—Boat House [HAWHSB] (1)
Hawthorne, Nathaniel—Grave [HAWGRV] (1)
Hawthorne, Nathaniel—Portrait [HAWPOR] (13)
Hawthorne, Nathaniel—The Wayside, exterior [HAWWAY] (46)
Hawthorne, Nathaniel—The Wayside, interior [HAWWYI] (6)
Hoar Grave [HORGRV] (1)
Hospital—Deaconness, Home for Aged Methodist Women [HSPDEA] (3)
Hospital—Emerson [HSPEMS] (3)
Hunt-Hosmer House [HOSHSE] (3)
Jones (Elisha) House (Bullet Hole House) [JONHSE] (14)
Lexington and Concord [LEXCON] (4)
Main Street [MAINST] (28)
MCI Reformatory [MCIREF] (13)
Middlesex Hotel [MIDHOT] (2)
Middlesex School [MIDSCH] (16)
Minot House [MINHSE] (6)
Minute Man [MINMAN] (96)
Minute Man National Historical Park—General [MINPRK] (178)
Monument Square [MONSQU] (45)
Mrs. Malcom Thompson Collection [THOMPS] (22)
Nine Acre Corner [NIACCO] (2)
North Bridge [NORBRG] (109)
Old Manse—Exterior [OLDMNS] (51)
Old Manse—Interior [OLDMSI] (6)
Pellet/Barrett House—exterior [PELHSE] (6)
Pellet/Barrett House—interior [PELHSI] (0)
Peter Bulkeley School [PETSCH] (1)
Powder House [PWDHSE] (1)
Railroad station [RAILRD] (6)
Scotchford-Wheeler House [SWHHSE] (1)
St. Andrew's School [STASCH] (1)
Thoreau, Henry David—Cabin on Walden Pond [THOWLD] (19)
Thoreau, Henry David—Miscellaneous [THOMSC] (2)
Thoreau, Henry David—Portrait [THOPOR] (3)
Thoreau, Henry David—Texas House [THOTHS] (1)
Thoreau-Alcott House [THAHSE] (11)
Tolman, Stacy—Works [TOLHSI] (1)
Towler, Bill—portrait [TOWPOR] (2)
Vose House [VSEHSE] (3)
Walden Pond [WLDPND] (25)
Walden Street [WLDSTR] (1)
West Concord [WESCON] (29)
West Concord School [WSTSCH] (1)
Wheeler Farm (Frank Wheeler Farm) [WHEFRM] (1)
Wright Tavern [WRIGHT] (48)
Wyeth, N. C.—Artwork [WYEART] (1)
The index lists terms for finding postcard images and descriptions via their subjects, artists, publishers or general aspects. To view each image, click on the image title in the column next to the index term. The index also includes linked references to main headings and central index terms. For a list of main headings, view the subject index at the top of this finding aid.