Prairie Postcards

Bruce Peel Special Collections is home to an extensive and growing collection of more than 30,000 postcards depicting various aspects of life on the Canadian prairies from the late-nineteenth through the mid-twentieth centuries. This period of intense European settlement and rapid urbanization coincided with the “Golden Age” of the postcard. At this time, picture postcards were very popular as a means of exchanging messages quickly and cheaply. The photographs reproduced on these postcards depict many aspects of prairie life, ranging from public buildings, monuments, and artwork to advertisements for goods and services and from celebrations of special events to daily life and work. Demand for postcards was limited, so many of them were produced locally by part-time professional, itinerant, or amateur photographers in small runs, and they are therefore relatively scarce. This collection offers special insights into a period of rapid change in the history of the Canadian prairies and is a valuable resource for historians, genealogists, and other researchers. The original postcards are housed in Bruce Peel Special Collections, and many of them can be viewed digitally through the Internet Archive here. This collection has been displayed in two of Peel's past exhibitions (2011 and 2016-17), both curated by Edmonton's first Historian Laureate, Ken Tingley.

Collection Formats: 19th Century, 20th Century, Postcards -- click to see other collections with this format