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The Poughkeepsie Postcard and Flyer Collection, available onsite at Marist College, consists of postcards and some flyers from the Hudson Valley region of New York with most more specifically depicting places and things in Poughkeepsie, New York. The collection includes both blank and used postal cards, the bulk of which are from the first half of the twentieth century (1904-1944). Undated postcards in the collection are also presumably from the twentieth century. The postcards which contain writing were sent, created, and received by a wide variety of individuals.

Although postcards were circulating in the United States by the 1870s, postcard production and popularity in the U.S. particularly took off in the 1890s and early 1900s. This is demonstrated in the collection, with a majority of the postcards hailing from the first half of the twentieth century. Postcards served as a fast and easy way to communicate with peers and loved ones at the time. In 1898, private printing companies were finally allowed to produce postcards in contrast to previous government control, contributing to their flourishing. As is demonstrated in the collection, from 1901 to 1907, standard postcards only had room for addresses on the back, leaving little room for messaging since pictures were on the front side. This changed in 1907 when the divided back was introduced, leaving space for a message on one side of the back and the address on the other. From 1907 to 1915, “Real photo” postcards started to gain more traction, rather than the typical drawing-based postcard. By the mid-twentieth century, postcards were produced and used in much smaller quantities, and most postcards seen in this era through today are called photochrom postcards; photograph postcards in color and with a particular sheen.

Up until the first World War, German printers dominated the postcard market, with an abundance of early cards in this particular collection reading “Printed in Germany.” Many of the postcards in this collection were produced by the Ruben Publishing Co. out of Newburgh, New York. Jacob Ruben, a Russian-American émigré, opened a stationary business in Newburgh in 1906, and also became a well-known Hudson Valley area commercial photographer. Ruben’s popular photographic tourist postcards of the Poughkeepsie area can be seen in this collection. Other publishers include John B. Flagler of Poughkeepsie, N.Y. (although printed in Germany), Kingston News Service, and the Rotograph Company. The Rotograph Co. was a publisher and printer of postcards based in New York that was an American offshoot of the German photograph and postcard publishers, Neue Photographische Gesellschaft.

There are almost 500 postcards and flyers in the physical collection onsite. Begin browsing through some of the digitized postcards in this collection by clicking on our galleries at the top of the page. 


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