Project Update – Historic Postcards, U.S.

We added this new project just in time for the weekend!   It is fun to take a look back and to see new places as you venture through these image sets.  This collection is the first of a series of historic postcards from the U.S. – additional collections will be coming later this year.

You can read more about this project on the Project page, and in the Online Help article.

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Reader Comments

These are awesome. I spent many a summer in New Jersey, which is where the cards I’ve keyed are from. Don’t think I ever stayed at any of these “moderately priced” motels, but they are fun to look at.

Interesting items, but I wish the caption entry boxes were larger. I type fast without looking at the box (I’m looking at the text) and only stop to check accuracy after a line or two, and proofreading long texts in a box that shows only one or two words at a time is unnecessarily difficult. There can’t be any technical reason for making that box so tiny, is there?

Collier, you can increase the size of the box that you type in. Just click on the edge of the box and drag.

I am loving the American postcards, especially the ones that have been written on. However, I am a bit confused as to what I should enter for the front ‘caption’. In the field help when keying, it says that it will most likely be the name of the location in the postcard, however, the online help shows a postcard with the name of the hotel clearly captioned on the front and but says that this would be entered as blank? confused!

I’m confused. The help field and the card showing seem to be two different things.

Well, duh! Never thought to try that. Thank you, Christine.

If the caption is on two lines, should it be keyed as two different captions?

Sorry but doesn’t anyone else think there are “better” things to have indexed than postcards?? Vital records comes to mind… probate records, land records, church records, State census records, Military records, etc.

I can see what you’re saying Ken, I like to do the postcards in between some of the other projects. I find the pictures very evocative and know that many of the hotels etc I have keyed no longer exist due to demolition/redevelopment and in some cases fire (I lke to google the history of some buildings!)so I feel like it is preserving history in it’s own way!

This is so neat! I inherited boxes of picture, documents and a 4-5 inch stack of postcards from a trip my mom made with her family out west in 1931. Only about 4 have anything written on the back and have a stamp but they are printed on some type of linen paper. Most have something about the picture printed on the back.
I had no idea what to do with them so now I can check into an project.

The Help article has been updated – thank you Maddy for catching the inconsistency. The postcard in the article would have the hotel name entered.

The caption should be entered as one line unless it is not a continuous two lines. Many captions state the name then the information is on the second and third lines, in this case you would enter “hotel name”; “caption”. I will add another example to the article that is more clear.

I think the instructions need to be a little clearer. I’ve arbitrated one set of the postcards and saw keyers typing the entire printed captions on the backs of the cards. For example, “…a lovely retreat by the sea…” Should the entered data only be the name of the place and, if a separate line on the postcard, the location, separated by a semi-colon? Or should the entire caption on the back of the card be copied?

Questions for Anna

1. Should there be a space or not before the semicolon in the postcards and the naturalization indexes? N.J. (no space) was keyed as NJ in the example, but what about N. J. (space), would it be NJ or N J?

Please do not say either one would be acceptable because when the set is arbitrated if both keyers don’t agree, then one keyer will be marked as wrong. Please, please, only pick one way.

2. Your example in Available Projects has the same name and location on both sides of the postcard. When there is information on both sides, are we to duplicate it on the front and back of the postcard? I do realize most cards only have captions on one side and that is where to key it.

I really do enjoy the postcards!!

I’m back…

I meant to say “a space AFTER the semicolon”. Sorry

Sorry, but I think this is a far reach to categorize these cards as helpful to anyone searching for their ancestery. Who is setting the priorities on what data needs processing for the World Project? Or are these the only thing available at the moment. Seems to me that there are a lot of image sets available to keep everyone busy rather than diverting all this energy to these cards.

The instructions are very unclear. I am about to stop doing these cards.

1. On the front of the card, some have the name of the place on a sign, were others have a have a typed in name and address. EX. The Happy Hotel 3 miles east of Florence Kentucky. Which should be keyed in and how. Show an example please.

2.If the only information is a sign Should the front of the card be marked image with no data?

3.On the back, Should the name and address be the only thing keyed in? With ; between the two.
Many cards have a complete description of the place. Should this be included and where would you put the ;?

4. I personally think if a owner manager is listed this should be included because this could be someone’s relative that they were unaware of them being the owners.

5. The project managers need to stop and think about how they are instruct people, it should short and simple with good examples. I’ll give an example. When you say caption, to me it means the whole description. If you want just the name and place the fields should be marked that not caption.

Thank you for your time. Please Advise.

In response to the questions we have received regarding this collection we have updated the Field Helps and the online Help article,

If you have further questions that are not addressed please contact our support team, worldarchivesproject@

I was feeling pretty old when I came across a “historic “card postmarked 1981! Well, now I’ve come across one with a web address on it. At what time is something “historic”?