Greetings from Boston: Vintage Postcards

August 2010–March 31, 2011

Central Library, Copley Square (Johnson Lobby)

Greetings from Boston: Vintage PostcardsSouvenir picture postcards made their American debut at Chicago’s 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. These new cards appealed immediately to a budget-conscious public as inexpensive keepsakes and an economical means of communication; by the early 1900s, the United States was in the throes of a postcard craze. In 1908 alone, Americans mailed more than 677 million cards. Although the “Golden Age” of postcards ended with World War I, postcard collecting (deltiology) is still one of the most popular collectible hobbies in the world, surpassed only by coin and stamp collecting.

Generous gifts from the public have built the Boston Public Library’s postcard collection to total nearly 165,000 cards. Housed in the Print Department, the BPL’s postcard collection is particularly strong in Boston-area subjects including architecture, businesses, views and whimsical salutations. We invite you today to tour “vintage” Boston through this wonderful collection of postcards depicting some of our city’s most famous places and spaces in bygone days.

Greetings from Boston! And welcome to the Boston Public Library.


View the Exhibition

View the BPL’s Collection

Exhibition Credits


Photography: © Chuck Choi

Greetings from Boston was made possible by the generous support of two anonymous donors and the Boston Public Library Foundation.