Digital Commonwealth

Small photographs and postcards, 1890s-1980s

Item Information

Title:
Small photographs and postcards, 1890s-1980s
Description:
The Small photographs and postcards series of the General Photographic Collection contains approximately 5,000 prints smaller than 4 x 5 inches and 5,000 picture postcards that cover a wide range of subjects, especially historic buildings and transportation. There is a significant group of images of seventeenth and eighteenth-century structures which a number of architectural historians took in the approximate period of 1910 to the mid-1940s. Of particular value are those pictures made in the course of repair or restoration that reveal structural features. Overall, the emphasis is on domestic architecture, notably on Cape Cod, in southeastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and eastern Connecticut. The subject areas of the small photographs of exceptional strength are sailing vessels, arranged by vessel name; lighthouses from Maine to New York Harbor; trains and railroad stations; and miscellaneous vehicles. The Postcards series of the General Photographic Collection contains approximately 5,000 items, ranging in date from the 1890s to 1980s. Postcards are an important source of documentary information about a variety of commercial, residential, civic, and industrial buildings which were often ignored by photographers in search of the picturesque. They have left a record of many hamlets and small towns which otherwise would have gone unrecorded in the photographic record, as well as the major resorts and main streets whose glory has faded. The geographic scope of the postcards is very exapnsive. Boston is most richly documented, followed by resorts and important manufacturing centers throughout New England. Small town merchants often commissioned postcard views of local sites of interest, such as civic buildings, parks, and imposing residential streets, which provide otherwise unavailable information about many areas not typically considered tourist attractions. In the Standard-size photographs series of the General Photographic Collection, there are 8 x10 photographic proofs for many of the postcards manufactured by Thomson & Thomson and the New England News Company. On the versos of each print are detailed instructions for hand-coloring the images. Many proofs show evidence of manipulation in the form of decals of cars or pedestrians, which were intended to enliven these scenes. Source: Guide to the Library and Archives, 4-6.
Date:
1890–1989
Format:
Postcards/Cards
Photographs
Genre:
black-and-white prints (photographs)
snapshots
picture postcards
Location:
Historic New England
Collection (local):
PC001: General photographic collection
Subjects:
commercial buildings
houses
industrial buildings
resorts
main streets
public buildings
parks (recreation areas)
historic buildings
historic houses
restoration (process)
transportation
sailing vessels
lighthouses
trains (vehicle groupings)
railroad stations
religious buildings
dwellings
exterior views
streetscapes
New York Harbor (N.Y. and N.J.)
Architectural photography
Places:
MassachusettsBarnstable (county)Cape Cod (area)
Rhode Island
Connecticut
Maine
New Hampshire
Vermont
Extent:
ca. 5,000 photographic prints : black-and-white, + ca. 5,000 picture postcards : color and black-and-white; ca. 5,000 picture postcards : color, black-and-white
Link to Item:
Terms of Use:
Rights status not evaluated.
Contact host institution for more information.
Identifier:
171253
Call #:
PC001.03