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Manuscript Group 445
DONALD R. BROWN POSTCARD COLLECTION
[ca. 1906-2009]
1 box, 1 folio


Donald R. Brown of Myerstown, Pennsylvania, is a noted deltiologist (postcard collector) who is keenly interested in demonstrating and studying the medium of the post card as a document of our society, past and present. Brown is a graduate of Ursinus College, Collegeville, Pennsylvania, and of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he earned a graduate degree in American history. Brown also earned a master's in library science from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He accepted a job at the Detroit Public Library in 1957, eventually becoming chief reference librarian, as well as an associate professor at Western Michigan University. Brown worked at the State Library of Pennsylvania beginning in 1970, serving as Assistant Director prior to his retirement in 1991. He was a founding member and chair of the Local History Committee of the American Library Association, responsible for writing and distributing ALA guidelines for promoting local history collection development in libraries, and organizing and teaching training sessions for librarians. Brown was the recipient of the Genealogical Publishing Company Award from the American Library Association in 1995.

Following his retirement from the State Library, Brown devoted himself completely to his first love, postcard collecting. Brown began collecting postcards in 1943. Between 1943 and 1947, he had collected 6,250 cards. The first display of his collection took place at the Myerstown Community Fair in 1947. Brown became a member of the Postcard Club of America in 1946, and a member of the Wolverine Postcard Club in Detroit, Michigan, serving as its president in 1960. He held his first exhibit at a postcard show at Windy City Post Card Club's Exhibit in 1961. After returning to Pennsylvania, he continued to exhibit his collection and to give programs to historical groups, community service clubs, genealogical societies, libraries, and civic organizations throughout the Eastern United States, emphasizing the research aspects of postcard collecting. In 1982, Brown purchased a building in Myerstown for postcard research projects. The Institute of American Deltiology (IAD), a postcard research center, was founded and established in the building in 1993. Brown's collections form the basis for the collections of this nonprofit private foundation, dedicated to the study of postcards (Deltiology). Its subject files consist of at least 700 categories with cross-references. 90,000 postcards are found in the subject files, with ten percent duplicated in the geographical files. The geographical files contain at least 270,000 postcards, 111,000 of which are from Pennsylvania. There are at least 12,000 postcards dealing with American architecture. The facility is open to the public. Brown is the author of Lebanon County: A Post Card History (1992).

The collection of postcards maintained by the State Archives consists of duplicate postcards or postcards printed by Brown which he donated to the Archives. The majority relates to Myerstown, Lebanon County. It includes one photographic postcard by Harvey Lineaweaver, ca. 1915, of the Bobby Albert Family of Schellsville (Dauphin County), Pennsylvania.



PA State Archives Hours, Directions, & Fees Research Topics Finding Aids for Collections Land Records