Moody Medical Library

Academic Resources | Blocker History of Medicine Collections


Postcard Collection

The Hospital Postcard Collection housed in the Moody Medical Library is comprised of more than 5,000 cards depicting primarily U.S. hospitals and medical centers. The collection provides a visual record of a variety of hospitals, asylums, sanatoriums, health resorts, medical schools and other related buildings. All 50 States and nearly 1,100 cities are represented, spanning over a 90 year period ranging from 1904 to 1994.

Background

The Postcard Collection dates from 1984, when The Moody Medical Library acquired the collection of Samuel X. Radbill, M.D. (1901-1987), a Philadelphia pediatrician and medical historian. The collection has grown gradually through the donations from various individuals, including William H. Helfand of New York City. In 1993, the Library was pleased to accept the gift of more than 3,500 postcards from Morris M. Weiss, M.D., a cardiologist in Louisville, KY. The Weiss collection has greatly enhanced the Library's Hospital Postcard Collection, regarded as the largest of its kind owned by a public institution.

Research Value

In the early years of the 20th century, postcards gained importance as a form of communication and quickly became popular collectibles. Today, the interest in postcards continues. The Hospital Postcard Collection documents changing styles in hospital architecture and gives an intriguing peek into the lives of the correspondents as they briefly chronicle both daily experiences and traumatic illnesses. The Postcard Collection is available to all researchers interested in the social and architectural history of hospitals, as well as the history of patient care and the health sciences in general. A personal computer database for the postcards is available for accessing different types of information about hospitals.

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