The Stories a Postcard Tells

I have been collecting postcards off and on since 1985.  Collecting was actually an offshoot of my having joined the International Youth Service, back in the days when snail mail was the common mode of getting to know people from other countries.  I signed up for quite a few penpals and ended up exchanging postcards as a way of showing each other our respective countries.  I became enamored by the idea of travel, and since I was stuck in Manila still neck deep in college, these postcards became my window to other worlds.

Through the years, I have refined my collecting interests into lighthouses, maps, New York City (where I am), and since I am no longer there, The Philippines.  I used to buy Philippine postcards only to trade away, and now that I am now permanently in New York, I have started collecting local views once again.

When I got here, I developed an interest for vintage New York and vintage Philippine postcards.  This is the higher end of my collection, and additions have been acquired through purchase and not your regular postcard trading.

I have seen the stories that a postcard tells — whether through the picture printed on its face, or perhaps the scribbling of a generation ago when a card was posted in the early 1900s.  I see a lot of old Philippine postcards posted by Americans who had perhaps just passed through the country or had spent a considerable amount of time there as the Americans took over from the Spaniards in the first quarter of the century, or after the Liberation of Manila in 1945.  I didn’t even know these postcards existed and every time I come across them (mostly on eBay), I wish I could snatch up each one and add them to my collection.

I feel myself being transported through time when I see how the New York skyline looked in the first half ot the twentieth century, and then I see how progress has carried the big apple forward.  And again, although I cannot possibly hope to visit every nook and cranny of the United States or the world at large, I get a glimpse of the different ways of life of people all over the world.

I have started trying to put my collection together into a cohesive website, even forsaking my usual layout for a template provided by my webhost.  It is rather tedious yet the thought of having my collection for other collectors to appreciate and for other people to view in general inspires me to keep scanning and keep creating this album online.  I wish to share the stories my postcards tell with others, not necessarily just postcard collectors, but to those who espouse a sense of wanderlust in their hearts but who do not have the means to give in to it.

If a picture could speak a thousand words, postcards will do the same and more — they will take you to places you can only imagine, just like the picture below of my kababayan’s roasting a pig in the days of old.