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presented by the Chicago Postcard Museum

Last Build Date: Wed, 25 Apr 2018 18:08:06 +0000


A Trip to the Curt Teich Postcard Archives.

Mon, 02 Jun 2008 17:12:00 +0000

It was a beautiful Spring morning and for the end of May in Chicago, it was very warm out this Wednesday. The Curt Teich Postcard Archives, part of the Lake County Discovery Museum, in Wauconda, IL was about a 45 minute drive from my house.

Arriving at the Lakewood Forest Preserve in southwest Lake County, I followed the signs to the Curt Teich Postcard Archives. I parked in the lot of a handsome colonial style home. Upon entering, I was greeted at the door. Apparently, the Archives are for research and by appointment you can personally view postcards. I was pointed towards the Lake County Discovery Museum just down the Forest Preserve road. The Museum actually displays the postcards and history.

The Curt Teich Postcard section is free flowing into a few rooms. The entrance starts in the beginning of the commercial postcard industry, the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Curt Teich postcards from all over the World are on display here. What a great time. There is a nice gift shop too.

Please enjoy some of the photographs (by Neil Jan Gale) I shot while at the Museum. Click on Photo to Enlarge.












Some Memories of Shopping at Marshall Field & Co. State Street Store.

Thu, 24 Apr 2008 16:19:00 +0000

(image) As a 13 year old boy, going downtown by yourself, on public transportation (the 155 Devon bus and the Howard-Englewood 'L' - now known as the red line.) was not so out of the ordinary. After all, I just had my Bar Mitzvah on my 13th Birthday and was now considered a man (really?). Anyway, times were different in the early 1970’s. I usually had a mission when going downtown. This time it was to buy a new alarm clock for my folks.

I would come out of the subway and go straight to the Marshall Field State Street store. It didn’t matter what time of the year it was, I always walked around the building looking at the windows. It didn’t matter if you were interested in the clothing, appliances, or home décor displayed, everything looked magical in those big windows. Of course the Marshall Field State Street store Christmas windows were legendary!

Once in the Marshall Field store, I would head directly to the toy department. Wow, what a wide selection of stuff. Stuffed animals (now know as plush toys), trains, model kits, the choice was endless. I made my way over the collectables counter where the stamps and coins were. I usually purchased a stamp from the 1940’s or 50’s since they were mostly under a dollar.

At the small appliances department, I would pick out 3 different alarm clocks and purchase all of them. The clerk would ask for the total amount. I told the clerk it was on credit and that I had the charge plate number but not the card. I explained to him that these were for my parents. They would pick the one they liked and then I would return the other two. I gave the clerk the account number from my memory, 45 – 143 – 148. Nice… I can still recall the account number from 40 years ago, but I already forgot what I ate for breakfast this morning.

The clerk would call the accounting office upstairs and they would verify the name, address and phone number on the account. No problem. Since my mom was hooked on chocolate, I usually stopped on the 7th floor to buy my Mom some. Charge it!

Oh. It’s lunch time and I’m hungry. The Walnut Room Restaurant served great food. By 11 o'clock the restaurant was already full and a line of people has started. There were two lines roped off. One line for parties of 1 or 2, and the second line for parties of 3 or more. Well, can you guess which was the longer line? Hey… I’m by myself. It’s only a 30 minute wait. There were only a few people in the 3 or more line. The couple behind me, perhaps in their 30’s, ask me if I would like to join them for lunch, that way we could get a table in a few minutes because the line was so short for 3 or more people. Like I said before, time were different back then. I did get a separate check because I was going to charge it, tip and all. Thanks for lunch Mom and Dad.

I did a lot of shopping at Marshall Field’s for my parents in my teen years. I miss Marshall Field’s. Why couldn’t Macy’s call the Chicago area Macy’s stores: Macy’s Field or something to that effect.

"I WILL" Chicago Postcard Information

Tue, 19 Feb 2008 22:19:00 +0000

The Chicago Postcard Museum dedicated the Lobby of the “I WILL” Galleries today to Gregg P. Durham of Puyallup, WA., who has contributed to the growth of the Chicago Postcard Museum.The Chicago Postcard Museum is extremely fortunate to have a generous benefactor and fellow “I WILL” Chicago postcard collector, Gregg Durham, donating many needed “I WILL” postcards to the Museum. In addition to the postcards that Mr. Durham has donated, he sent the Museum a compiled list of “I WILL” postcards and “I WILL” postcard oddities (presented below).CHICAGO “I WILL“ ACMEGRAPH “C” SERIES (102) POSTCARDS – ca.1910Postcards in (parenthesis) do not have the “I WILL” Crest on the face of the postcard. Postcards in red are still needed for the Museum's collection.101C -- Coliseum Building, Chicago.102C -- Federal Building, Chicago.103C -- Wilson Beach, Chicago.104C -- Lake Shore Drive, Chicago.105C -- Washington St., east from Dearborn St., Chicago.106C -- Madison east from Dearborn St., Chicago.107C -- Orchestra Hall, Chicago.108C -- ? --------------------------109C -- ? -------------------------- 110C -- Bathers, Douglas Park, Chicago.111C -- Boat House, Lincoln Park, Chicago.112C -- Majestic Theater Bldg., Chicago.113C -- Coliseum at Night, Chicago.114C -- (Responding to an Alarm.)115C -- (On the way to a Fire.)116C -- University Club, Chicago.117C -- (Illinois Theater, Chicago.)118C -- Garfield Park, Chicago.119C -- (Twentieth Century Limited Leaving Chicago)120C -- (Fire Department in Action.)121C -- (Police Patrol Automobile.)122C -- Tulip Beds, Washington Park, Chicago.123C -- Monroe Street east from La Salle St., Chicago.124C -- New North-Western R.R. Depot, Chicago.125C -- Elevated Loop, Wabash Ave., Chicago.126C -- Chicago Avenue Pumping Station, Chicago.127C -- Siegel Cooper & Co.’s Store, Chicago.128C -- Chicago Beach Hotel, Chicago.129C -- Board of Trade Bldg., Chicago.130C -- Fort Dearborn Monument, Chicago.131C -- Whaleback “Columbus,” Chicago.132C -- Stock Yards, Chicago.133C -- Entrance to Stock Yards, Chicago.134C -- Michigan Ave., Opposite Grant Park, Chicago135C -- Madison Street Bridge, Chicago.136C -- S. Water Street West from State, Chicago.137C -- State St., North from Jackson Boulevard, Chicago.138C -- Dearborn Street, North from Van Buren, Chicago.139C -- State Street Looking North from Adams, Chicago.140C -- Northwestern Depot from Wells Street Bridge, Chicago.141C -- Public Library, Chicago.142C -- Chicago Athletic Club.143C -- Chicago Automobile Club, Chicago.144C -- Illinois Athletic Club, Chicago.145C -- Schiller Building and Garrick Theater, Chicago.146C -- Colonial Theatre, Chicago.147C -- Art Institute, Chicago.148C -- Railway Exchange, Chicago.149C -- Newberry Library, Chicago.150C -- Cook County Building, Chicago.151C -- Unity Building Chicago152C -- Medinah Temple Chicago.153C -- Ashland Block, Chicago.154C -- Tribune Building, Chicago.155C -- The Rookery, Chicago.156C -- Masonic Temple, Chicago.157C -- Republic Building, Chicago.158C -- County Hospital, Chicago.159C -- Commercial National Bank Building, Chicago.160C -- Union Depot, Chicago.161C -- Reliance Building, Chicago.162C -- Illinois Trust & Savings Bank, Chicago.163C -- Auditorium Building, Chicago.164C -- Great Northern Hotel, Chicago.165C -- La Salle Hotel, Chicago.166C -- White City Amusement Park, Chicago.167C -- Garfield Park, Chicago.168C -- Humboldt Park, Chicago. – small letters169C -- Washington Park, Chicago.170C -- Washington Park, Chicago. – small letters171C -- The Elephant, Lincoln Park, Chicago.172C -- Lincoln Park, Chicago – small letters173C -- Lincoln Park Chicago – small letters174C -- Lover’s Lane, Lincoln Park, Chicago.175C -- (Field’s Columbian Museum, Jackson Park, Chicago.)176C -- German Building, Jackson Park, Chicago.177C -- Beach at Jackson Park, Chicago.178C -- Santa Maria of the Columbus Caravel, Jackson Park, Chicago. 179C -- Merchants Loan & Trust Building, Chicago.180C -- Hull House, Chicago.181[...]

Hold to Light Postcards: Still amazing after 100 years.

Wed, 16 Jan 2008 05:08:00 +0000

Once I held up a Hold to Light postcard to the 300 watt light bulb the dealer had lighting his counter, I was mesmerized and I had to buy it no matter the cost. Luckily the antique dealer didn’t have many postcards and really didn’t value the HTL postcard correctly. I purchased it for $14.00 in the late 70’s.What I purchased was a Joseph Koehler, die cut postcard of the Palmer House, Monroe & State Streets, Chicago, Ill. (see image) This postcard must have over 100 cut-outs on it. It is truly glorious when held up to a strong light. It is similar to a paper stained glass image. Don't' miss the Chicago Postcard Museum's collection of Chicago Hold to Light postcards.Below is an explanation of the different types of Hold to Light postcards and some history about J. Koehler.Hold to Light (HTL): when held up to a strong light, the moon, water ripples, windows, vehicles and other objects light up brilliantly. Hold to Light postcards are of three distinct types: Die Cut Postcards are triple layered cards on which certain parts of the topmost layer have been cut out, a middle layer with thin colored tissue paper and a bottom layer for the Address backing. When held up to a strong light, such as a lamp, the cut out portions appear brightly colored and illuminated. These cards generally highlight windows, the moon, flowers, or other small discrete cut-out areas.Transparency Postcards are more sophisticated. Also made of three or more layers, these have a 'hidden design' which is usually related to the front design. Objects, characters, colors, or scenes appear magically when the postcard is held in front of a strong light. These cards are classified in four groups: Day into night scenes. The color changes (usually from black and white to colors). A new image appears (which may or may not be related to the front image). A partial image appears or changesSlide Transparency Postcards are, as the name implies, a slide transparency sandwiched between two layers of a postcard. These are rare and hard to find.Joseph Koehler, New York, NY; Founded as a printing firm 1892-1911, they later began publishing view-cards in both continuous tone and halftone lithography as well as real photo cards. They have been well known for their early hold to light postcards, mechanicals, and exposition cards, since publishing an unofficial postcard set of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. While most companies stopped using the expensive chromolithographic printing method in favor of the cheaper halftone printing process, Koehler (a pioneer in halftone technology) had returned to producing chromolithographs. Koehler postcards have a very distinct style to them and is the reason why Koehler postcards are so sought after by serious collectors. All of their postcards were printed in Berlin Germany.posted by Neil Jan Gale, Director, Chicago Postcard Museum[...]

MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY: Memories from Childhood - U-505

Sat, 22 Dec 2007 23:32:00 +0000

It is getting close to the Chicago Postcard Museum's first special exhibit, "The Museum of Science and Industry: Yesteryears." The exhibit is opening on January 3, 2008 online at

(image) Personally, I've always loved the Museum of Science and Industry ever since my first visit at 6 1/2 years old. I was mesmerized by the hands-on touch-ability of the exhibits. Do you remember the Telephone/Communications exhibit on the right, just as you walked in? In my tween years, I would pick up the Weather telephone or the Time telephone (set-up to call only one outside telephone number) and tap the receivers disconnect button 10 times real fast and get a live Operator on the line. "Hello? I'm having trouble dialing," I said to the operator, "would you please dial, Hollycourt 5 ....". Presto! A free phone call. People looked at me like I was play-talking to a pretend person on a telephone that will only call "Time Service". Hey... I was just a kid. Next, it's off to the Coal Mine exhibit before the line gets too long. The train ride was so worth the wait, as was the controlled gas explosion demonstration at the bottom of the shaft.

My Dad (a WWII Veteran) saved the best exhibit for last. The U-505 Submarine. The U-505 is one of only two German Submarines captured in WWII. Although I was only about 4 foot tall, I remember thinking how small the inside of this submarine really was. All the surfaces were hard, painted metal and was cold and menacing. All the dials, gages and meters were unreadable in a foreign language. I felt very uneasy all of a sudden in such a small space with so many people behind me slowly moving, pushing forward wanting to see what I just saw. Then an few more steps... bam... you find yourself outside the sub and the tour is over. Nice. Throughout my childhood, I never missed seeing the U-505 Submarine exhibit when visiting the Museum of Science and Industry.

posted by Neil Jan Gale, Director, Chicago Postcard Museum


Wed, 12 Dec 2007 16:33:00 +0000

(image) Hungry? Me too. I found myself driving by Devon and Milwaukee Avenues on Chicago's Northwest side last week. Low and behold there is the SuperDawg Drive-in.

Superdawg is a 1950's style, car hop service drive-in. Yes... the waitresses come to bring your food to you in your car and leave a tray on your car window with napkins, salt, and ketchup along with your food order.

It was about 1:45 in the afternoon when I pulled into the nearly full parking lot. I carefully backed up into a stall. A couple of fine maneuvers to get close enough to reach the menu board, to push the order button, without having to open the car door. It's also very important to be close enough to the menu board so when you're ready to leave, you can flip the 'tray pick-up' switch. Then the waitress will know you're done and want your tray removed.

Superdawg's hot dogs are about the best 'Chicago style' hot dog you can get. As I was ordering my 'Superdawg" with everything and hot peppers, I noticed the souvenirs section on the menu board. "Will that complete your order?" a woman's voice said through the speaker. "I'll have 2 postcards too." I said. Completely satisfied knowing that the Chicago Postcard Museum will have a Superdawg postcard in it's collection, and I'll be eating one of the best hot dogs and fries around.

Do you know any cool Chicago places with their own postcard(s)?

posted by, Neil Jan Gale, Director
Chicago Postcard Museum


Thu, 06 Dec 2007 23:40:00 +0000

I'm Neil Jan Gale the Director of the Chicago Postcard Museum. I was seven years old and dragged by my Aunt to a small suburban community art fair and collectible show. I remember the fair was outside on the sidewalks and also on a blocked street. While my Aunt went looking at stuff that a seven year old really didn’t care about, I was left at a dealers table full of shoe boxes of postcards.

I didn’t really know what to look for. I fixated on the postmark date and tried to find the oldest dated postcard from all those shoe boxes. After about an hour, my Aunt came back to the dealers table. “Did you find anything interesting?” she said. In my hand was a very old postcard. It had no picture and nothing to do with Chicago, but there it was. A postmark of June 4, 1885. I did it! 1885 was still old in 1967, right?

The dealer was a really old scruffy guy (from a seven year olds perspective) sitting on a tiny little stool in the only corner of shade in his booth area. He got up and came to the front of the booth. I handed him the postcard I picked out and reached in my pocket for my money. “That’ll be 25¢” he said. But before I could even move, my Aunt jumps in with “What’s the best you can do on the price? He’s only seven and is paying with his own money.” Now even at that age, I felt uncomfortable when the man look at me, then at the postcard, then at me again, and says “Well............... (there was an awkward 20 minutes of silence) O.K., how’s a dime sound.”

When I got home that day and looked at the postcard I bought, I realized that all I had to stare at was an old postmark. Nothing else on the postcard really got me excited. I thought to myself that the next time I see old postcards at shows I was going to look for pictures of Chicago since I live there and can relate to the pictures.

I never stopped collecting Chicago postcards from that day forward. Over 40 years collecting and I always ask the dealer “what’s the best you can do?” and wait for them to answer. The first one who speaks looses.


Tue, 04 Dec 2007 16:15:00 +0000

Greetings. I’m Neil Jan Gale and the Director of the Chicago Postcard Museum at I’m going to start off this blog with a little gripe I have about postcard photos/images on Internet auction sites.

Recently I purchased some Chicago postcards over the internet and on internet auction sites. First, is it too much to ask for a front and back image of the postcard you are selling? Is that image you posted on your auction from your cell phone?.

Hey… If you’re going to sell paper collectibles, such as postcards, buy a scanner. As the old saying goes: A scanned image is worth a thousand words. I say that great images (yes, multiple images) on auction sites make more profit. Try providing a digital image large enough to see fine detail. The Chicago Postcard Museum works with an image size of 1024x667 pixels at 96 dpi for the large detailed image and then a thumbnail of 280x182 pixels at 96 dpi..

There. How therapeutic! Now you give it a try. Any gripes or comments?.