Monday, August 25, 2014

Souvenir 73: Postcards Relating to Transportation in Massachusetts, 1902-2011

The State Library’s souvenir collections contain a wide variety of items of historical interest, in formats not usually found in research libraries: puzzles, banner, artifacts old and new, figurines, and postcards.  This new collection, assembled for our summer 2013 exhibition Moving Massachusetts: The History of Transportation in the Commonwealth, contains over one hundred postcards, as well as transit tokens no longer used by the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA).  The postcards range in date by over one hundred years, from  1902 to 2011.  The images on the postcards portray the broad range of transportation options in Massachusetts and related buildings and locations.  There are eight different series in the collection, organized by image subject matter.

Series I, “Massachusetts Train Stations,” contains thirty postcards of  train stations, with the greatest concentration in the greater Boston area.  Included are several images of both South Station and North Station (in all its incarnations!) and several other stations across the Commonwealth.  Images show stations themselves, the trains arriving at stations, and well-known buildings and landmarks near the stations.  Series II, “Trains and MBTA,” contains eight postcards portraying MBTA vehicles including trains, snow plows, and a bus.  Series III, “Massachusetts Bridges,” contains thirty-eight postcards portraying bridges from various locations in Massachusetts, including Boston-area bridges such as the Harvard Bridge and the Charlestown Bridge, and others from as far west as Greenfield.  

Series IV, “Sites near MBTA Stations,” features images of well-known areas in the Boston area where stations such as Harvard Square and Tremont Street,  among others.  Series V, “Massachusetts Lighthouses,” features images of four lighthouses in Boston Harbor.  Series VI, “Boston Harbor and Ships,” includes images of the harbor  itself, as well as images of other locations such as the Boston “T” Wharf, and images of ships and boats.  Series VII, “Stevens-Duryea Automobiles,” features two images of Stevens-Duryea model automobiles from 1906 and 1907. The automobile manufacturer Stevens-Duryea was active in Chicopee Falls from 1901 until 1915, and again from 1919 until 1927. Series VIII, “MBTA Tokens,” contains six brass-colored MBTA tokens, a form of payment phased out by 2012.

Wes Fiorentino
Special Collections Intern