Historical postcard collection donated to GR Public Library


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A singular donation to the Grand Rapids Public Library will give historians, academics and the curious a brand new glimpse into Grand Rapids’ previous.

Retired lawyer Tom Dilley is giving the library greater than 5,000 postcards, some courting again to the late 1800s.

Whereas a number of the playing cards function shifting elements, others embrace a small envelope permitting senders to incorporate a notice. There are additionally leather-based playing cards, and a few that have been customizable many years earlier than Photoshop.

Dilley started amassing the postcards as an adolescent.

“It merely grew through the years. I used to be then, and I’m nonetheless amazed,” he stated.

Dilley wrote the e-book on Grand Rapids’ Classic Publish Playing cards, twice. He’s the writer of two books, titled “Grand Rapids in Classic Postcards, 1890-1940” and “Grand Rapids: Group and Business.”

A few of the postcards spotlight how individuals might talk earlier than know-how was in each residence.

Earlier than each residence had a telephone, individuals would ship a postcard house to ship messages made by way of telephone calls and textual content messages in as we speak’s world. Postcards despatched within the morning would make it to their vacation spot within the metropolis earlier than dinner was prepared.

“Not fairly as quick as an e-mail, however this was greater than one hundred years in the past,” Dilley stated. “Isn’t that tremendous?”

Different playing cards present proof that the extra issues change, the extra they keep the identical.

Lots of at this time’s junk mail ads are descendants of a number of the playing cards within the assortment. A number of of the postcards depict humorous cartoons or one thing helpful like a ruler alongside the sting, or a calendar to face out from the remainder of the mail.

The gathering consists of playing cards courting again to 1890 to 1980, detailing ninety years of Grand Rapids historical past and pictures not all the time present in historical past books.

“An image actually cements it in our minds, and that’s what that is,” stated Dilley. “It opens a door for insights concerning the tradition, each when it comes to how they have been used, what’s depicted.”

Dilley might have bought the gathering, as postcards are a very scorching commodity for collectors.

However, his imaginative and prescient went past greenback indicators.

“I assumed that, as an entire, it was so priceless to the great understanding of our historical past right here that it wants to enter public arms,” he stated.

For now, the playing cards will stay within the again room on the library. As soon as they’re cataloged, they’ll turn out to be a part of the Thomas R. and Debra C. Dilley Historic Assortment.



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