Welcome! For years I’ve been rescuing old postcards I’ve found in antique shops, flea markets, and other random places. The images themselves are always an interesting look back, but I find the personal messages just as intriguing. Seeing images from the Catskills of the 1950’s is super cool and fun to explore. But the messages on the back (and sometimes front) of each postcard are just as fun.
In most cases, the scribbles are mundane and not all that personal. Sometimes I’m really surprised to find wording that you wouldn’t think of putting on a public piece of mail today. But even the common postcards someone took the time to write out their thoughts and send it to someone they were thinking of. I was feeling bad for the people who wrote them. Their personal connection to this place and their loved ones was just sitting here in a pile. Their memories were laying on this table in a flea market baking in the sun and being forgotten. It felt awful to watch these brief moments in history fade further and further into obscurity.
So, I started rescuing them.
I realized these didn’t mean a ton to me personally but I was curious about each one. Who is “Midge” anyway? Did she get FOMO from the postcard and decide her family had to visit Phoenix just like the Thompsons had? Did Lucia enjoy her trip to Carlsbad Caverns or was she just thinking of her sister’s family back in Buffalo the whole time?
I kept wondering if I’d ever encounter a pile of old postcards for sale and find one in the stack that my family had received. How cool would it be to find my grandma’s handwriting on a random postcard in a flea market bin?? Or, what if I found a postcard that had been mailed to my house to a previous owner decades before I was even born?!
While the likelihood of finding a personal connection in a random stack of postcards seemed not likely at all, it didn’t stop me from wondering who these postcards were connected to in present day. But alas, they just sat in a cigar box on a shelf in my collection of things.
How About An Online Archive?
During the Year Of COVID many of creative projects were put on hold for a few reasons. In an attempt to keep busy and my creative juices flowing, I decided to build out an online postcard archive website. I figured it would serve as a simple side-project that allowed me to keep doing some fun work, and it could be a place where these personal messages of bygone years could live on forever, without being subject to new rips and tears or fading.
And so it was that the Upstate Postcard Archive was born. Please enjoy!