The Delaware Public Archives, a special collections institution that provides outstanding leadership in creating digital products to support the study of First State heritage, has just launched another valuable resource. It is the George Luther Caley Postcard Collection, a group of almost 7,000 twentieth century images of the State and Delmarva.
George, a Smyrna resident, was a well-known genealogist, author and local historian and an avid postcard collector. During his life-time, he assembled this valuable assortment of Delaware and Delmarva images. When he passed away in 2005, his wife generously donated the photos to the Delaware Public Archives. Now the professionals at this fine repository have made those images available to researchers on the World Wide Web.
Picture postcards caught on about 1906 and remained popular, sought after items throughout the 20th century. Itinerant photographers traveled the area, from the Peninsula’s wide spots in the road to the larger towns, snapping up pictures of just about everything to supply the market. When people vacationed, they mailed those tiny items back home. Or when someone from Delaware corresponded with far away friends, they exchanged picture postcards of their towns. Toward the end of the 20th century the items that had been stored away in trunks decades earlier started coming out of attics. Those tiny pieces of cardboard became valuable, sought-after collectibles as local history enthusiasts snapped up the historical pictures of the region, many of them nearly 100-years old.
Now thanks to Mrs. Caley and the Delaware Public Archives this valuable collection has been carefully preserved and it is available to a wide audience.