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W. S. Hoole Special Collections Library Manuscript Collections

Guide to the Alabama postcards mss.3715


University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 35487-0266

June 2013


This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2013-06-10T14:46-0500

Language Usage:


Description Rules:

Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Collection Title:

Alabama postcards

Unit ID:



University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama


0.05 Linear feet (postcards)




Postcards showing a variety of places in Alabama, including Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile, and Montgomery.

Usage Restrictions:


Access Restrictions:


Processing Information:

Processed by

Martha Bace, 2013

Preferred Citation:

Alabama postcards, University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama

Acquisition Information:

gift of Jeremy Butler, 2012

Biographical/Historical note

A postcard or post card is a rectangular piece of thick paper or thin cardboard intended for writing and mailing without an envelope. The first American postcard was developed in 1873 by the Morgan Envelope Factory of Springfield, Massachusetts. Later in 1873, Post Master John Creswell introduced the first pre-stamped "penny postcards". These first postcards depicted Interstate Industrial Exposition that took place in Chicago. The first postcard to be printed as a souvenir in the United States was created in 1893 to advertise the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Originally the Post Office was the only establishment allowed to print postcards, and it held its monopoly until May 19, 1898, when Congress passed the Private Mailing Card Act, which allowed private publishers and printers to produce postcards. This prohibition was rescinded on December 24, 1901. At that time postcards were allowed to have a "divided back" where the back is divided into two sections, the left section being used for the message and the right for the address. Thus began the Golden Age of American postcards, which lasted until 1915, when World War I blocked the import of the fine German-printed cards.

Postcards became very popular as a result of the Columbian Exposition, held in Chicago in 1893, after postcards featuring buildings were distributed at the fair. In 1908, more than 677 million postcards were mailed.

Scope and Contents note

The collection contains ten postcards showing a variety of places in Alabama, including Tuscaloosa (Denny Chimes, & the Union building on the UA campus as well as Druid City Hospital), Birmingham, Huntsville, Cheaha State Park, and Mobile.


Butler, Jeremy (local)

Alabama (lcsh)

Parks - Alabama (lcsh)

Tuscaloosa (Ala.) (lcsh)

University of Alabama (localbroad)

Postcards Box SC0088 Folder 3715.01