The Lost Art of Library Postcards

I’d like to imagine there will always be people who find it necessary to fit the experiences of a vacation into the small space provided on a postcard, but I’m doubtful. The idea of buying, filling out, and dropping one into a mailbox has become a quaint relic of our pre-Instagram past.

An even sadder truth is that we don’t celebrate our public libraries the way we once did. Yet, as anyone who’s ever dug through a box of vintage postcards will remember, the public library was once a landmark, a source of public pride that represented the best of a city. And while there are many of us who still feel that way about libraries, in recent years we’ve watched them lose funding, and cities have torn down a number of these classic buildings where so many have gone seeking knowledge. As we work to keep our local libraries open, these beautiful 20th-century postcards serve as nostalgic reminders of just what we’re fighting for.


Boston Public Library, 1908