, 2022-08-01 20:05:24,
The lecture, entitled “The Happy Invention: The History and Significance of Picture Postcards,” will be held virtually at 2 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 6. The presenter will be Katherine Hamilton-Smith, founding curator of the Teich Archives, which is the world’s largest public collection of postcards. Registration is required. Email the library at [email protected] for registration information.
The lecture is presented as part of the Caribbean Genealogy Library’s continued work with the Michael and Jane Sheen Postcard Collection.
The Sheen Postcard Collection includes over 1,000 historical postcards of the Danish West Indies from around 1880 to 1917, and the U.S. Virgin Islands from 1917 to the 1950s. The older cards in the collection depict street scenes, the harbor, people, occupations and historic events; while the modern postcards focus on beaches, water activities and resorts.
There are postcards showing vendors at Market Square with their ground provisions and fish, coal workers with baskets on their heads steadily climbing onto ships, the harbor with sailing ships, steam ships and later cruise ships, and Cruz Bay when buildings were very few. There are postcards advertising some of the first hotels, street scenes in Christiansted with horse drawn wagons, church choirs and school buildings.
The Caribbean Genealogy Library and the Sheens recognized that the collection represented a valuable visual resource for conducting research related to the history of the Virgin Islands. The library applied for a grant in 2020 to digitize and catalogue the collection.
Those goals were realized through the “Images of Our Past, Michael and Jane Sheen Virgin Islands – Danish West Indies Historic Postcard Collection Digitization Project,” which was made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: CARES Act Emergency Relief Grants for Humanities, through the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands.
The library held several small exhibits earlier in the year featuring the postcard collection and will host additional exhibits and events in upcoming months. This is the first lecture related to the collection. The library thought it was appropriate to start at the beginning, with the history of the picture postcard and the trends it has seen through the decades.
The library’s postcard lecture will explain that the first picture postcards were…
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