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Enoch Pratt Free Library Digital Collections

About this collection

A selection of vintage postcards sent from Maryland during the years 1905-1922. They document famous landmarks and tourist attractions, streets and natural scenery, parks, buildings and city panoramas, lakes and rivers, etc.

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Collection Location: Maryland Department, Enoch Pratt Free Library / State Library Resource Center

Postcards of Light St. Wharf in Baltimore, a panoramic view of Cumberland, and Old National Bridge in FunkstownCollection Overview: Postcards have always been a way to send a message to friends and family. The precursors of postcards were pictures on envelopes. The first postcard, suggested by Dr. Emanuel Herrmann (1839-1902), an Austrian professor of economics, was approved by the Austro-Hungarian governments in 1869. In the United States, the first postcard is considered to be the exposition card issued in 1873, showing the main building of the Inter-State Industrial Exposition in Chicago. The first American postcards intended as souvenirs were those released in 1893 to commemorate the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. From then on, postcards became a very popular and inexpensive way of mass communication around the world. In 1907, a new postcard regulation brought a major change in postcard design. It allowed the back of postcards to be divided down the center. The right side of the back was now for the address and postage, and the left side was for the personal message that used to be written on the front of the card. Until 1915, a majority of U.S. postcards were printed in Europe, especially in Germany whose printing methods were regarded as the best in the world. When World War I broke out, American postcard publishers stopped using the German printers for obvious reasons.

In Maryland, postcard sending caught on early. After the turn of the 20th century, thousands of visitors sent postcards to their family members and friends around the state and the country. Postcard collecting became a national hobby during the years 1900-1920. The postcards in this digital collection document famous landmarks and tourist attractions, streets and natural scenery, parks, buildings and city panoramas, lakes and rivers, etc. They represent a small selection of the thousands of vintage postcards residing in the Enoch Pratt Free Library’s Maryland Department.

Related Material:

Websites

Shiloh postcards: a brief history of postcards” at http://www.shilohpostcards.com/webdoc2.htm

Maryland Historical Trust. “Inventory of historic properties” at http://mdihp.net/

National Register of Historic Places at http://www.nationalregisterofhistoricplaces.com/md/state.html

Historical Marker Database at http://www.hmdb.org/


Books

Postcard History Series. Charleston, SC: Arcadia, 1998-2006

Images of America. Charleston, SC: Arcadia, 1999-2006

Then & Now. Charleston, SC: Arcadia, 2005-2006 Smith, Bert.

Down the Ocean: Postcards from Maryland and Delaware Beaches. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999 Dorsey, John, and James D. Dilt.

A Guide to Baltimore Architecture. Centreville, MD: Tidewater, 1997 Arnett, Earl, Robert J. Brugger, and Edward C. Papenfuse.

Maryland : A New Guide to the Old Line State. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999


Thank you to Jill Craig of Western Maryland’s Historical Library (WHILBR) for valuable information concerning Hagerstown landmarks.

Collection overview and related material prepared by Andrzej Durlik, Digitization Librarian, Enoch Pratt Free Library/ State Library Resource Center

 

 
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