The digital collection can be accessed at:
The Des Moines Public Library Postcard Collection includes postcards depicting scenes from all over the state of Iowa. For this digital collection, we chose to focus on the Des Moines area and specifically on those postcards that had been posted. Our process of digitizing and combining both the front and back side of each unique postcard into single images makes each one more accessible to a larger audience. Each of the personal sender's messages opens a window to the past, an understanding of lives and relationships in the early 1900s.
Notes on transcription:
We transcribed each postcard to the best of our ability, noting when words and phrases were indecipherable by including "(ind)" in the line. Line breaks are marked by a "/" and incorrect spellings or grammatical errors are noted with the traditional "(sic)" following the mistake.
Fort Des Moines
Iowa State Fair
Rivers (Des Moines and Raccoon)
Streets and Commercial Buildings
The physical collection can be accessed at:
Des Moines Public Library Central Library, Special Collections, 1000 Grand Des Moines, IA 50309
The Des Moines Public Library Postcard Collection is a collection of many thoughtful donations spanning decades. Special Collections librarians Deb Kolb and Joe Hyman spearheaded efforts to digitize the postcard collection for inclusion in the Local History webpage. In order to move forward with a boutique collection to serve as a representative selection of the larger Des Moines Public Library holdings, they engaged an intern for the fall semester of 2008 from the University of Iowa School of Library and Information Science.
The images were selected (based on copyright status, relevance to Des Moines, and presence of sender's message regardless of content) and scanned by Sarah Zdenek, Institute of Museum and Library Services Fellow. Images were scanned using a Canon Lide 60 scanner at actual size (varies per postcard) at 300 DPI. The images (front and back) were then combined using PhotoShop versions 7 and CS2. Ultimately, they were then uploaded into CONTENTdm, hosted by Drake University, and made available to the public through the Des Moines Public Library's Local History webpage. Sarah Zdenek created metadata records from information on the postcards themselves, based on the Des Moines Public Library's Best Practices Manual for Digitization and the help of her mentors and librarians, Deb Kolb and Joe Hyman. A special thanks to Bart Schmidt, Digital Projects Librarian, Cowles Library, Drake University, for his expertise and efforts.