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From the Archives: The Pennsylvania Postcard Collection

As a passionate pursuer of historical gems and research opportunities, I’ve always found interest in the treasure trove of knowledge that lies within the correspondences of the past. So, when the opportunity arose to work as an archive intern at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, I was overjoyed. Over the past few months, I’ve worked closely with the Archivist, Amanda Peters, the Digital Librarian, Moira Stockton, and the Preservation Department to process a collection of postcards that were donated to CLP over the years. Allow me to share with you some highlights of this invaluable experience.

Every single day of the internship led to interesting and often surprising discoveries. I chose to focus the bulk of my time on transcribing the handwritten correspondences, allowing future viewers of the collection better access to the context and contents of each postcard. Ranging from 1893 – 2005, the cards held conversations both mundane and fascinating. Some detailed breakfasts eaten at hotels now long demolished, some recounted fond college memories, and there were even some that reported their work on rockets to be sent to space. The images on the postcards tell a story of their own, creating a map through time that connects the architecture of our past to the environment of our future. Contributing to the preservation of these stories was an honor beyond words.

Piles of postcards featuring one with a folded out paper containing printed words in an Asian language

Beyond working on the collection, one aspect of the internship that truly stood out was the opportunity to connect with CLP staff. Everyone that I was able to work with, even briefly, offered insightful advice and welcomed me with open arms (and yes, plenty of book recommendations!) I left with a deep sense of appreciation for all the work they do and hope to offer the same kind of personability and warmth as I move forward in my career journey.

Vintage postcards in color featuring children, birds and flowers

My time as the archive intern for CLP has deepened my appreciation for record-keeping, the art of preservation, and the power of storytelling through historical materials. Moreover, it has reinforced my belief that CLP stands as an exemplary model for how libraries are dedicated cultivators and protectors of our collective memory and knowledge. I will always be grateful for the experience I gained and the connections I made within CLP. I highly encourage everyone to explore the treasures within their local libraries and look for opportunities that may offer the same kinds of growth and discovery.


Photo of young woman with glasses, holding up a badge that reads volunteer
Note: Jaeden R. Yoshikawa recently completed her MLIS at Drexel University. She interned in the CLP Archives from April 3 to June 8 as part of her degree.

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