Blog > The Little Mail Carriers at the Curt Teich Postcard Archives!
The last time we heard from the Little Mail Carriers, they were knee-high in snow in Siberia, but that was a long time ago… We were wondering what they were up to, when we received this exciting report from Chicago! Turns out, they’ve just spent some time with Heather at the fantastic Curt Teich Postcard Archives!
We’ve written about their Greetings from postcards before, so we were curious to see what Little Paulo & Ana would discover “behind the scenes”…
In April we traveled to Wauconda, Illinois, in the far northern suburbs of Chicago. There we visited the Lake County Discovery Museum’s Curt Teich Postcard Archives—the world’s largest public collection of postcards! Our first stop was the mailbox located at the end of the drive. It was quite roomy and gave us a chance to stretch after the trip.
First we saw the reading room and library, which is open to the public. We decided to do a little research. Postcards are sleeved before researchers handle them, and we were only given a few at a time to look at. Pencils only for note taking!
Next we were given a behind-the-scenes tour. The core of the archives is from Chicago printer Curt Teich & Co (1898–1978). The Teich Company specialized in printing postcards, and saved copies of everything they printed. During the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, it was the world’s largest volume producer of postcards. The archives literally holds millions of postcards from the Teich Company and other publishers.
The postcards are stored in archival boxes in cabinets. There are a lot of cabinets to hold all of the postcards. The archives also has production files that were used to create the postcards. Some contain original photos, notes, artwork and samples of wallpaper, carpet, or products. This client sent a carpet sample to get the colors and pattern just right.
When we were there, postcards from the Detroit Publishing Company were just being entered into the computer database.
Many of the postcards are digitized on a flatbed scanner at the archives and made available online at www.idaillinois.org. While visiting the digitizer, we made some new friends!
Later, we headed over to the museum building to tour the exhibits. We saw what the original off-set press looked like (that’s Curt Teich Sr., company founder, on the right).
We also discovered a “Top Secret” map! Did you know that during the Second World War, the Teich Company had a contract with the United States Army Map Service for printing maps?
There are lots of different types of postcards on exhibit.
It was great to meet the staff and see how the postcards are cared for at a postcard archive. They love postcards!
P.S. May 5–11, 2013 is National Postcard Week in the United States!
What a fantastic trip – sounds like postcard heaven to us! Thank you for showing them around, Heather! :)
Now they’re off to their next destination… the adventure continues!