Tuesday, April 14, 2099

An Introduction to Historic Postcards

Picture postcards came into being at Chicago’s Colombian Exposition in May 1893 where they were printed and purchased by attendees as proof that they had actually been there. Following their success, on 19 May 1898 the government gave private printers permission to print and sell postcards. These are easily identified by the "Private Mailing Card" inscription on them.

On 24 December 1901, permission was given to use the wording "Post Card" on the backs of privately printed cards. These cards were to only have the address on the back and the message was to be on the picture side. By 1 March 1907, the back of the card was divided so that both the address and the message could occupy it. The front of these cards was filled with a color image with no white border.

The first World War ended imports from Germany of colorized postcards and US publishers began printing them. They are easily identified by a colorized image with a white border around them. Fortunately, American printing techniques improved and as a result,starting in 1930 so did the cards themselves.

These historic postcards of Derry, New Hampshire were provided in part by the Museum of Derry History's collection and the collection at the Derry Public Library.

(Source: Mashburn, J.L. (2001) The postcard price guide: a comprehensive reference. 4th ed. Enka, NC: Colonial House.)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Valentine and Sons, New York and Boston

Some of the postcards in our collection were printed by Valentine and Sons of New York and Boston. Valentine & Sons Co. was in operation from 1907-1909 and had their offices at 58 West 15th Street, New York, New York.

Originally from Dundee, Scotland, where they produced many postcards of scenes in Great Britain, Valentine and Sons came to New York and later opened another branch in Boston, Massachusetts. They published view-cards depicting scenes throughout the country. While many of these cards were printed in the United States in their later years, they have the exact same distinct look of the tinted halftones that were printed in Great Britain. All cards are numbered and have a three digit prefix and a three digit suffix. In 1909 they merged with the Hugh C. Leighton Company of Portland, Maine to become Leighton and Valentine.

To see an example of a Valentine and Sons card search for the tag "Horne's Pond" without the quotes.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Frank W. Swallow - Man of Many Talents

Many of the postcards that you will find in this collection were printed by Frank W. Swallow. A businessman from Exeter, New Hampshire, Swallow was involved in multiple projects in the area including selling wholesale crockery for Mitchell Woodbury and Company, partnering with Herbert F. Dunn in a real estate development firm called Exeter Park Land Company, and working as an automobile salesman. Printing local postcards was the last enterprise he was involved with. It enabled him to combine his love of travel, autos, and sales.

Swallow traveled throughout Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont and took all his own photographs for the postcards. Then, he started a small business colorizing them. For this, he hired women aptly called the "Swallow Girls" to colorize the images he took. The business,located at 40 Lincoln Street in Exeter, counted Eva and Christine Button along with Lucy Boswell among the painters.

Source: Merrill, Nancy Carnegie. (1988) Exeter New Hampshire 1888-1988. Portsmouth, New Hampshire: Peter E. Randall Publisher. Derry Public Library Historical Collection. HIST COLL 974.26 men

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Welcome to a collection of historic postcards from Derry, New Hampshire. Click on any of the postcards below to go to the complete collection at flickr.com or simply click on the slideshow to the left to see more.


derrypubliclibrary's Derry NH Public Library Historic Postcards photoset derrypubliclibrary's Derry NH Public Library Historic Postcards photoset

The actual postcards reside in the collection of the Derry Museum of History. Click here to view their website.