Johns Hopkins University African American real photo postcard collection
Scope and Contents
This is a collection of approximately 1018 real photo postcards portraying African Americans, dating from approximately 1905 to approximately 1946. Each postcard is approximately 3½ by 5½ inches with a black-and-white photograph on one side and a postcard format on the reverse. Although these were printed in postcard format, they are not regular postcards. Real photo postcards are actual photographs which were typically printed in tiny editions, from one to perhaps twenty copies; regular postcards are mass-produced. In the present collection a few have been mailed as postcards, with ink text and postage on the reverse. Some have informal written notes of identification or greetings to relatives and friends. Most are blank.
The collection contains 403 portraits of women; 143 portraits of men; 89 group portraits of families and gatherings; 38 portraits of children; 60 portraits of rural life. There are rare photographs of the return of the 10th Cavalry "Buffalo Soldiers," at the Battle of Carrizal, Mexico, in 1916; in addition to black soldiers in World War I; black sports figures; prisoners in chain gangs; blacks in such occupations as sheep tenders, sod breakers, resort wheelchair drivers, limousine chauffeurs, turpentine distillers, and other roles. One photograph documents a lynching in Russellville, Kentucky in 1908. Several illustrate racial stereotypes.
- Approximately 1905-1946
- Johns Hopkins University (Collector, Organization)
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Please contact Special Collections for more information.
Collection is open for use.
Conditions Governing Use
Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.
Biographical / Historical
This is an artificially assembled collection, so no biographical or historical note is required.
0.63 Cubic Feet (3 cardfile boxes (12.5 x 6.5 x 4.5 inches))
Language of Materials
This is an artificially assembled collection of approximately 1018 real photo postcards portraying African-Americans, dating from approximately 1905 to approximately 1946. Each postcard is approximately 3½ by 5½ inches with a black-and-white photograph on one side and a postcard format on the reverse. The collection was left in original order and is organized by subjects or subject matter.
The collection was left in original order and is organized by subjects or topic. Series titles were supplied by the manuscript dealer.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
This collection was purchased from George Minkoff Rare Books in 2011.
Existence and Location of Copies
Digitized versions of the collection can be found here: https://jscholarship.library.jhu.edu/handle/1774.2/44736. There are also digital object links at the item level in the finding aid.
Items Temporarily Removed
The following items have been temporarily removed as of October 2017 for an exhibit: 0686, 0707, 0713, 0720, 0722, 0729, 0730, 0736, 0738, 0740.
This collection was processed by Carla Ruas in September 2012, with additional processing by Annie Tang in December 2015. Additional processing by Jordon Steele, October 2017.
- Johns Hopkins University African-American real photo postcard collection
- Carla Ruas, Annie Tang, Jordon Steele
- Language of description
- Script of description
Part of the Special Collections Repository
The Sheridan Libraries
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA