Carson Hendricks must have a great job. He's an archivist working in the California History Section of the State Library who recently finished organizing the huge Postcard Collection there.
He describes the 24,000-card resource in the latest Bulletin of the California State Library Foundation. Generally speaking the vintage postcards (1900-1970) idealize life in the state, depicting the best places and events for tourists and would-be tourists.
They're not all about big cities and travel destinations, Hendricks explains. "A substantial number of cards in the Postcard Collection are devoted to the history of small towns and remote places as they once appeared. More than half the collection consists of places away from the major population centers of Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area."
The cards are also a terrific historical tool, often depicting "images of buildings long since demolished and street scenes that have changed dramatically."
The Bulletin article is richly illustrated with reproductions of a variety of beautiful and interesting California scenes. Worth a look.
IMAGE CREDIT: Sacramento River scene published in Sacramento (Postcard History Series) by Tom Myers. Courtesy of Tom Myers