I’ve collected postcards since I was a kid. Friends and family gave me postcards, I scrutinized every card , then organized them in myriad ways. They were a glimpse at a world beyond my own.
On a rainy day, it’s a wonderful pastime to explore the world in my postcards. Today they show history. Here are some cards of familiar Baltimore sites, from a souvenir portfolio from Union News Company.
The Baltimore Post Office, built in the 1890s, was a towering presence, but an unbearable workplace. James H. Bruns, in Great American Post Offices (1998), notes that when the windows were open, drafts sickened the postal workers, and when the windows were closed, clouds of dust choked them. (The dust in these post offices contained dried manure from horse-drawn postal wagons, carried in on the mail sacks, with the odor of the stable. In post offices with overhead conveyors, a steady dusting of manure from the sacks fell upon the workers all day.) The Baltimore office’s main tower, although a landmark, was used only as a place to store old ledgers. [I believe the building was demolished about 1930.]
I am an occasional collector of a lot of different collections. I blame my antique-collecting grandparents for the gene (https://hocomd.cc/2016/10/09/my-grandparents-were-john-schwarz-antiques/). One of my collections is foreign coins and currencies. I have money from 72 different countries, some just a single coin or currency, and others a real moneybag. I love the coins for the artistry, sometimes the politics, always the history and values represented. These are some of my favorites. (Click on any coin for a slideshow.)