Posted by Ann Rabinowitz
After posting my article, Historical Postcards, I realized that I had left off several significant resources for postcards which are not online and will now make amends. The following areas are those that can be visited in person:
The Postcard Clubs are a local resource that genealogists can either visit or join to learn about postcards, identify ones they have already and obtain new ones or sell old ones. One of the oldest continuously running such clubs is the Metropolitan Postcard Club of New York.
As you will note, if you go to their site, their International Spring Postcard Show is being held May 14-16, 2010, at the New Yorker Hotel in New York City. This is a good opportunity to see what is on offer and learn a bit more about postcards.
This was suggested to me by Linda Cantor, who is a member, and realized that I had left off this important resource for postcards.
Whilst there is not a centralized schedule for postcard club events around the world, a good site to see what postcard shows are scheduled in the U.S. is http://www.postal-history.com/showpage.html.
In other places outside the United States, one of the most prestigious shows is the BIPEX which is held in England. The announcement for this show is pictured at the top of this article. Another series of shows are those scheduled in Toronto, Canada, for: May 30, August 8, and October 17, 2010, in the Thornhill Community Centre. It is best to Google the town/country you are interested in to find what is scheduled.
FAIRS, FESTIVALS, MARKETS, AND YARD SALES
There are an abundance of outdoor fairs, festivals and markets worldwide where stalls contain memorabilia such as postcards. Very often, these are held during the summer months, but some are held year-round no matter the weather. They may have postcards that are specifically linked to the particular location where they are found, but you may find postcards from everywhere displayed as well.
Whenever I am traveling, I try and stop at such places and see what is available. Major international cities, very often, have wonderful large selections of cards such as London, Paris, Rome, Berlin, St. Petersburg, etc. However, the small places may surprise you with unusual and worthwhile selections.
Another interesting outdoor venue for collecting postcards is the yard sales which are prevalent in many places. It is surprising what kinds and types of postcards can be found if one looks around. These cards are also usually reasonably priced.
BOOK AND ANTIQUE STORES
As I very often stop at book and antique stores when I travel, I have found that they may have selections of postcards of various kinds. This is particularly true of used bookstores which one has to really search for and seek out nowadays.
My favorite independent bookstore in Miami is Books & Books and sometimes they have a nice boxful of such postcards in their Antiquarian Room. Also, one of my other favorite bookstores in Manhattan, the Strand Bookstore, has many books about postcards.
Very often, antique dealers or shop owners are postcard collectors, so you will find a selection of postcards in their stores. Another similar, but less expensive venue is the many thrift shops which abound in many towns. They are worth visiting and there may be ones which are sponsored by Jewish charities such as Brandeis University, a Jewish Home for the Aged or WIZO, which have just the postcard you are looking for.
Very often, there are regularly scheduled auctions which one can attend in person or which are online. These are quite interesting as they can contain blocks of postcards from private collections or individual cards. One can easily Google these events for your particular location and you may find that many may be associated with postcard shows. The major auction houses such as Sotheby’s even have Collectibles Departments which handle such items as postcards.
As can be seen, postcards can be found in a wide variety of venues and half the fun of finding them is the search. It is quite worthwhile making this search to locate an image of your ancestor, perhaps one of their ancestral shtetl or even of an event that took place during their residence in their shtetl. These long ago glimpses into the past do much to enhance our knowledge of our ancestors’ lives.