Postcards from the Library

This month, Special Collections & Archives teamed up with Student Outreach at Strozier to present Postcards from the Library, highlighting books and objects about travel, home, and identity. Our window display addresses FSU memorabilia and the International Program, general travel containing objects from the collections of our donors, World’s Fair souvenirs, and immigration and identity.

In our first window, we have a 1966 FSU yearbook; this was chosen because 1966 was the year that the International Programs began with students studying in Florence, Italy. That first group of students came to be known as “gli angeli del fango” or the Mud Angels. In addition, we have postcards dated from the 30’s to the 50’s found in the Heritage Protocol Collection, one of which is a projection of future buildings on FSU’s campus shortly after the college transitioned from the Florida State College for Women to Florida State University in 1947.

In our window addressing general travel, we have many postcards sourced from the personal papers of FSU professor and world-renowned physicist Paul Dirac as well as author Gloria Jahoda. These postcards were found amongst family photographs from personal travels. Accompanying these postcards are books on travel ranging from the 1850’s to the 1890’s.   

The World’s Fairs of the 19th and 20th centuries were held to exhibit the cultures of many different countries, as well as demonstrations of art and science. They featured markets selling products, food, and drink, in addition to rides and games. In our display are four mass-produced souvenir books, all dated to the late 1800’s. This was a popular practice at the time; these books were usually characterized by intricate illustration on the cover and featured a number of chapters detailing specific or general aspects of that years World’s Fair. These books were valued for their aesthetic appeal more so than for their content, so they were often displayed in the home. In addition to the books, we have displayed postcards thought to be from the early-to-mid 1900’s.  

This window contains a page from the calendar of donor John MacKay Shaw featuring hand-written entries specifying when the family left Scotland to immigrate to America. Also included in this window is a pamphlet for new residents of Tallahassee. Included inside are detailed descriptions of the practicalities of orange growing as well as accounts of the climate and resources of Florida in response to the needs of a growing immigrant population.      

The library participated in an event of the same theme reproducing a postcard from our collection and allowing students to fill them out and send them.

1946 Tallahassee postcard reproduced for students to fill out

The original postcard folds out displaying 8 other two-sided images.

If you’re interested in any of these items in our display or related materials, come by and see them at Special Collections & Archives!

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