By Helen Lewandowski '12
My first three years at Grinnell, I worked with a very special, very small part of the Special Collections and Archives -- the postcards collection. My task: scan, enter, and add metadata (cataloging information) for hundreds of the postcards from the Iowa Historic Postcard Collection. Although now I digitize a greater diversity of things as a student archivist, I still look back on the postcard collection fondly. Many of the postcards are from the early 20th century, a time in which postcards were sent frequently as cheap, efficient correspondence between family and friends.
Here's a selection of Grinnell postcards (most from the 1910s) that have caught my eye. For further exploration, you can find thousands of postcards online on PDID (pdid.grinnell.edu), the Pioneer Digital Image Database!
A cloth dragon entertains children at a 1911 Grinnell College home track meet. Mascot, anyone?
One of the things I particularly enjoyed about digitizing the Grinnell postcards was the look back at buildings that no longer exist. Most of them were from the 1880s ... not the best period of architecture in some ways, as seen here by Chicago Hall and below by Blair Hall. Chicago Hall was constructed in 1883, costing approximately $20,000. It was razed in 1958 to provide space for the construction of Burling Library.
Blair Hall was constructed in 1882-1886 and razed in 1961. Construction cost $32,700. It originally housed the campus chapel and departments of chemistry, natural science (including the museum), mathematics, and physics.
For more information, visit Special Collections and Archives.