John and Jane Adams Postcard Collection
Scope and Contents
The John and Jane Adams Postcard Collection consists of over 100 years of history and communication through postcards. The postcards are diverse in size, format, and subject. The collection contains more than 4,500 postcards of San Diego County, and 8,500 postcards representing parts of the state of California and the development of California. Individual states in the U.S. as well as other countries of the world also have categories in the collection. Postcards are also arranged by publisher, type, and topic. Also included with the collection are research materials related to postcard collections and collecting, albums of postcards, and a balsawood postcard file box. The collection has been broken down into distinct categories, both topically and geographically. Each box is identified with its category abbreviation and box number.
In the Topical Series, there are 10 subseries. Subseries I: Greetings encompasses general holiday, birthday, romantic, religious, and miscellaneous sentiments, as well as the popular European "Gruss Aus" and its American descendant, the "Greetings From" type of card. Subseries 2: Art includes reproduced paintings, drawings, sculptures, museum pieces, and other art. Subseries 3: Comics includes comic postcards (usually drawn characters), including comic art involving early 20th century stereotypes of Germans, African-Americans, and other minority groups. Subseries 4: Places includes postcards from specific places such as monuments, but also many postcards from miscellaneous places around the world intended to depict foreign costumes and ways of life. Subseries 5: People includes famous people and performers, as well as general depictions. Subseries 6: Events includes various world expositions, wars, and famous disasters. Subseries 7: Nature includes postcards of various animals and plants. Subseries 8: Politics includes promotional postcards for candidates in presidential and other elections, as well as promotional material for various causes, such as temperance and suffrage. Subseries 9: Sports includes depictions of a variety of international sports. Subseries 10: Transportation depicts varied forms of transportation, with a significant strength in military transportation.
- Adams Postcard Collection (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
The copyright interests in some or all of these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with the creator(s) of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of archival collections is such that multiple creators are often applicable and copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine. In any case, the user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, obtaining publication rights and copyright infringement. When requesting images from Special Collections & University Archives for publication, we require a signed agreement waiving San Diego State University of any liability in the event of a copyright violation.
Postcards began circulation as a convenient means of quick and often colorful communication in the mid-to-late 19th century. Both American and European publishers took advantages of the postcard craze of the early 20th Century as millions of postcards of a variety of subjects and topics were produced, circulated, and collected. The popularity of postcard collecting diminished during World War I and postcards have never achieved quite the popularity they initially held, but postcards are still widely produced, circulated, and collected worldwide for various reasons and occasions.
24.43 Linear Feet
Language of Materials
I. San Diego (SD)
II. California (CA)
III. US Views (USV)
IV. Publisher (PB)
V. Foreign Views (FV)
VI. Topical (TOP)
VII. Card Types (CT)
VIII. Russell Raitt Donation (RR)
IX. Carol Wilson Donation (CW)
X. Souvenir Albums (SA)
XI. Research Materials (RM)
XII. Albums (ALB)
XIII. Oversized Materials (OV)
The bulk of the collection consists of a gift from John R. and Jane Adams in 1989, and also includes donations from Russell Raitt and Carol Wilson, as well as postcards previously in the Norland Collection. Postcard donations have also been accepted from numerous donors and patrons.
Accruals and Additions
1989-007, 1993-009, 1998-013, 2005-051
- Adams, Jane Ford--Art collections
- Adams, John R., 1900-1994--Art collections
- Baja California (Mexico : Peninsula)--Pictorial works
- California--Pictorial works
- Cities and towns--United States--Pictorial works
- Mexican-American Border Region--Pictorial works
- Political postcards--Private collections--California--San Diego
- Political postcards--Specimens
- Postcards--Private collections--California--San Diego
- San Diego (Calif.)--Pictorial works
- San Diego County (Calif.)--Pictorial works
- Tijuana (Baja California, Mexico)--Pictorial works
- United States--Pictorial works
- John and Jane Adams Postcard Collection
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note