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Capturing Yellowstone

During June, visitors to special collections can see over 30 Yellowstone National Park postcards, curated by Gordon Daines. The historic collection features a view of the park from 1920 taken by Asahel Curtis, who was well known for documenting the natural wonders of the Northwest.

Daines writes: “Postcards were a popular means of communication from 1898 to 1915 that offered a quick and easy way for individuals to communicate with each other. With the establishment of rural mail delivery in 1896, postcards, including those from Yellowstone, could be sent almost anywhere in the United States. Postcards spread throughout the world and quickly became one of the most common items to collect. Yellowstone was defined in large part thanks to the images on postcards.

A variety of publishers created and sold postcards of Yellowstone National Park. Postcards became a popular souvenir, and the postcard business boomed because of postcards’ low cost and ease of purchase. The Yellowstone Postcard Checklist by Michael H. Francis (F 722.99 F73 2006 Americana collection) identifies well over two hundred postcard publishers who each published anywhere from one to several hundred postcards of Yellowstone.”

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