20th Century Postcard Albums

Recent Acquisition: 800 Postcards from Early Modern Europe

20th Century Postcard Album Covers

IPI recently acquired three postcard albums dating from the early 20th century. The albums were purchased by IPI’s director, James Reilly, from a small independent antique shop in Girona, Spain to be added to the IPI process study collection. The albums, visually interesting in their own right, contain over 800 real photo postcards that circulated Europe nearly 100 years ago.  In addition to being romantic eye candy, the eclectic collection sheds light on life in the 20s and 30s, historical photographic printing techniques, and the impact of the modern postcard.

The online gallery below showcases a sampling of these postcards and their fascinating use of hand-applied embellishment. Stenciling, airbrushing, and base tinting techniques were used to create fantastic color effects.

The photo postcards were exposed and processed in the studio where the sitters could change their identity and environment with different backdrops, props, and costumes as if on a stage.  Thus, in addition to the use of fantastic colors, role playing in front of the camera produced theatrical postcards that reflect the desires of society at the turn of the century.

The majority of the cards in this collection are silver gelatin developed-out photographic prints (DOPs). To learn more about DOPs, visit www.graphicsatlas.org.

Launch the gallery of selected postcards from the collection