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Postcards from an Architect

by Nilda Sanchez-Rodriguez on 2020-11-24T14:10:00-05:00 | 1 Comment


In 2016, the Architecture Library of the City College Libraries at the City College of New York (CCNY) acquired an extensive photographic postcard collection of the late Frank Wayde Hall, an accomplished architect, and a historian of architecture. Appraised at nearly $100,000, this collection (1970s-2013) consists of approximately 13,500 postcards (46% photographic and 54% print variety) on architectural structures/buildings of the 19th and 20th century, and other related views from around the world. Additionally, the worldwide images primarily emphasize New York City and Harlem, which provide an ideal opportunity to trace its history. Postcards were stored in 25 archival storage boxes, filed, and labeled by Mr. Hall until his untimely death in 2013. They reside in the library and will one day be displayed so that the public can more fully enjoy the collection. Postcard from an architect poster (AASL Conference 2018)

Postcards from an Architect was presented at the 40th Association of Architecture School Librarian annual conference in Denver, Postcard from an architect poster (AASL Conference 2018) Colorado, 2018. The presentation introduced postcards as a treasure trove of visual and historical content, and briefly reviewed the benefits of sharing visual content as a pedagogical tool. The concepts, materials, and instructional strategies can be explored and adapted to meet the diverse needs of any academic institution. The eventual Frank Wayde Hall Postcard digitization project aims to process the archival collection and make it publicly accessible. The presentation was an excellent opportunity to share suggestions and ideas with colleagues, and aid in launching the first phase of visualizing postcards.

Postcards encompass a vast amount of information that can be an asset to architecture students and researchers.  This unique collection will help users piece together societal attitudes and reveals different time periods, lifestyles and structures. Through this presentation, the goals were to transform each user experience by collaborating with them along their path to personal and professional development. While my duties as librarian would be to build collections for the various programs, providing excellent service remains significant, as we are facilitators, who not only change the way users view information, but also aspire to enhance their lives. My goal is to acquire different perspectives, to emphasize the importance of promoting excellence, creativity and leadership within the college community.

Lear, B. A. (2008). Wishing they were there: old postcards and library history. Libraries & the Cultural Record, 43(1), 77-100.

Nigro, C. (December 4, 2015). Using postcards for local history research. [Blog Post].

Stevens, N. D. (1995). Postcards in the library: Invaluable visual resources. Psychology Press.

Tillmann, A. (2012). What we see and why it matters: How competency in visual literacy can enhance student learning.



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Seamus Scanlon (O'Scanlain) 2020-11-24T15:00:46-05:00




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