Postcards

A comprehensive historical postcard display has been staged at the Roberts House in Piedmont.

Wade Hall’s picture might not be in the dictionary next to the word “deltiologist,” but people like Hall are the reason a formal word meaning postcard collector had to be created. 

Before his death in 2016, the Bullock County native and English professor collected about 25,000 vintage postcards in his travels between holding positions at several universities.

A traveling exhibit showcasing Hall’s collection, which was donated to the libraries at Troy University and University of Alabama, is set to visit Piedmont in July and Jacksonville in August.

“It’s just a great thing for anyone interested in history,” said Ben Ingram, a Piedmont dentist and member of the town’s historical society.

The exhibit will be shown off in the city’s historic Roberts House hotel and museum every Sunday beginning today until August 4, Ingram said. The public can visit from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Sundays to see the descriptions and stories surrounding some of Hall’s postcards from around the state.

According to Troy’s description of the exhibit, Hall’s collection is made up of postcards primarily originating from the early 1900s through 1960. 

The exhibit visiting Calhoun County, titled “Historical Streets of Alabama,” shows off enlarged photographs of Hall’s postcards depicting noteworthy roadways from throughout the state. 

“This exhibit focuses on streets in Alabama,” Ingram said. “Postcards were a very famous way of communicating back in the early 1900s.”

According to the exhibit, which was organized by Troy librarians Ruth Elder, Jana Slay and Lisa Vardeman, postcards were most popular as a form of quick, inexpensive communication between 1900 and 1920, before the widespread use of the telephone.

Jacksonville’s public library will display the exhibit in its annex during its normal hours between August 10 and 29.

Barbara Rowell, the library’s director, said she was glad to bring the display for Jacksonville to see.

“We discovered it when we went to a state library convention,” Rowell said. “They had it on display for people to request it.”

Two additional exhibits showcasing Hall’s collection, focusing on famous state buildings and tourist destinations respectively, also are circulated to sites across Alabama. 

“We chose the one that showed public squares because it included one from Jacksonville,” Rowell said.

The streets exhibit contains a photograph taken from the east side of Jacksonville’s public square in the 1930s as well as a view of Noble Street in Anniston from the early 20th century. 

The broader Hall collection housed at Troy includes many more snapshots of the Anniston area, such as depictions of a still-bustling Fort McClellan and a view of Leighton Avenue dated 1907.

A book of some of Hall’s Alabama postcards, titled “Greetings from Alabama: A Pictorial History in Vintage Postcards,” was published in 2016.

Rowell said the exhibit is a chance to see some state history in celebration of Alabama’s 200th anniversary of statehood.

“I think it’s great as part of the bicentennial for people to come see the display and learn about Alabama’s history, whichever location they can make it to,” Rowell said.

Contact Staff Writer Daniel Mayes at 256-235-3561 or danielmayesstar@gmail.com. On Twitter @DMayes_Star.

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