Author: Bill Burton

  • First article May 30, 2019!

    First article May 30, 2019!

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    Postcard History is about the stories that collectors find in the cards they collect. These stories are not always obvious  — we learn about them by sharing our finds with other collectors. Every Monday and Thursday you’ll find out about what your fellow collectors have discovered in their cards. Your collection has a story to…

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  • Shot Towers

    Shot Towers

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    Is it some sort of munitions testing facility? Why build it in downtown Baltimore? There’s a reason for everything, and then I found out there were lots of them, and some are still around, almost 200 years and several technological revolutions later.

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  • Inside Sing Sing Prison and The Mutual Welfare League

    Inside Sing Sing Prison and The Mutual Welfare League

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    Forty miles north of New York City, “up the Hudson River,” Sing Sing Prison got a new warden in 1915. Thomas Mott Osborne ushered in a wave of penal reform. Out went the lockstep, in came (limited) prisoner self-governance. T. Fred Robbins, a nearby photographer and constable, was allowed to document many of the changes…

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  • It’s Old Home Week!

    It’s Old Home Week!

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    Small towns in New England and the Mid-Atlantic lost population as westward migration and the lure of factory work drew young people away. Old Home Week attempted to lure them back.

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  • “I Like Ike!”

    “I Like Ike!”

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    Dwight Eisenhower never served in combat, but he achieved total victory in World War II. He had no experience running an institution of higher learning, yet he became President of Columbia University. And he never held public office until he was elected President of the United States.

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  • They Were Champion Boxers Once, and Restauranteurs Too

    They Were Champion Boxers Once, and Restauranteurs Too

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    Jack Dempsey and Sugar Ray Robinson were champion boxers — Dempsey as a heavyweight and Robinson as a middleweight and welterweight. While they fought in different eras of “the sweet science,” their post-fighting paths led them to New York City and the restaurant business.

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  • The Maud Adams You Don’t Know

    The Maud Adams You Don’t Know

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    Maude Adams (not Maud Adams the Bond Girl, she doesn’t have the “e”) was an astonishingly successful stage actor who burst onto the New York stage in 1896 with J. M. Barrie’s The Little Minister and in 1905 played the title role in Barrie’s Peter Pan. Alphonse Mucha painted her. She toured with her own…

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  • The Civil Rights Movement and Its Anti-Communist Opponents

    The Civil Rights Movement and Its Anti-Communist Opponents

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    The 1950s-1960s civil rights movement drew widespread opposition that frequently called Martin Luther King, Jr. and other activists as “communists,” as this John Birch Society card shows. It’s numbered CR2. There just had to be a CR1. It took years to find, and here’s its story.

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  • A Couple Walked Into a Bar . . .

    A Couple Walked Into a Bar . . .

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    We were new to the area, driving around to the different small towns on weekends to get a feel for the state of Delaware. I had begun collecting postcards of local towns, so we went where we had been given a recommendation or found a postcard that showed something that looked interesting enough to visit.…

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  • Balanced Rocks and Other Improbable Formations

    Balanced Rocks and Other Improbable Formations

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    Scattered across the world are rock formations that seem too good to be true — rocks precariously balanced on other rocks, seeming to defy gravity. There are those who says aliens put them there, while others say it was glaciers or erosion. Decide for yourself.

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  • The Amazing Output of Cobb Shinn

    The Amazing Output of Cobb Shinn

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    As World War I loomed, a varied group of talented Indiana illustrators, comic artists, and cartoonists were beginning their careers. While none of these Hoosiers are household names today, Cobb Shinn of Indianapolis became the most prolific and collectible postcard artist of the group.

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  • Two DelMarVa Sketch Artists and Their Postcards

    Two DelMarVa Sketch Artists and Their Postcards

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    Each generation has its own sketch artists who use pencils, charcoals, pastels, chalks, and crayons to render hometown scenes, rural vistas, and family events in sketchbooks that are cherished by a cadre of descendants. This article by Bill Burton, Postcard History’s publisher, highlights two such practitioners of pencil art who lived and worked in a…

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  • Factories that Printed Postcards

    Factories that Printed Postcards

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    When the postcard craze struck, across America and around the world dozens of printing companies wanted to get their slice of the postcard pie. This feature highlights eight of the American firms that printed postcards. Some enjoyed huge profits, but others closed as the Golden Age of Postcards faded into history.

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  • I Never Met a Man I Didn’t Like

    I Never Met a Man I Didn’t Like

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    This epigram sums up what people saw in Will Rogers — honesty, plain-spokenness, and decency. Rogers’ shy grin and aw-shucks manner were the heart of his charm, propelling him from a vaudeville cowboy act to stardom in the Ziegfeld Follies, movies, newspapers, and radio where he would gently lampoon everything. “All I know is what…

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  • Ozzie and Harriet and David and RICKEE!

    Ozzie and Harriet and David and RICKEE!

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    Ozzie and Harriet Nelson and their two sons were not a typical American family, they were the All-American Family. The American Broadcasting Company’s Saturday night sitcom was as much an American tradition as Sunday morning church. Enjoy this postcard history look-back.

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Past Article

George “Burt” Martin
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Tires are things we pay very little attention to until something goes wrong. The flat tire is an experience many drivers deal with by gritting their teeth and digging deep into their wallets for money they don’t want to spend. Buying a postcard that advertises tires is much easier and cheap ones can be found most anywhere.

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