In pre-television and early radio times, mass sharing of information and culture was printed. No selfies, no send button, no insta-anything. Postcards shared pieces of the world, and of people.
Bob Stoldal sees them as a rich source of information to cull from, literally a paper trail documenting the growth of Las Vegas as well as the auto-era travel industry. His collection is thousands of postcards strong, chronicling more than a century. And his interest isn’t so much the over-saturated images of mid-mod pylons, stylish fonts and Googie architecture, but rather the early 20th-century documentation of life on the ground here—the years between 1905 and 1931.
Bad ideas develop their own projectile inertia. Once energized, goofiness can sail untouched past the moment when the idea can be unmasked as ill-considered and intemperate.
Here's a goofy idea that seems self-propelled at the moment. Let's give Lake County Discovery Museum's 3.5 million-item Curt Teich Postcard Archives to the University of Illinois for free. That will save the county thousands of dollars in museum space and management costs. And besides, the university knows how to take care of such rare assets better than we common folks do.
Forest Preserves district officials pitched launching negotiations on such an idea to the Lake County Board recently. No one arose to suggest it might be a mistake based on misplaced values, like Paris giving the Eiffel Tower to Hoboken to save money. In fact, there seemed to be mostly sad, resigned, nodding-in-agreement-it's-inevitable heads.
Absent another volunteer, I will raise my hand.
It's a stratospherically dumb idea. Don't do it. You'll be sorry.
The Lake County Forest Preserve District could transfer ownership of the world-renowned Curt Teich Postcard Archives to the University of Illinois as part of a potential plan to save money and make the collection more accessible.
Established in 1982 at the district-run Lake County Discovery Museum at the Lakewood Forest Preserve near Wauconda, the archives have grown from the initial donation from the Chicago-based Curt Teich Co. to nearly 3 million items. It is regarded as the largest public collection of postcards and related materials in the world, and a premier source of images from the 20th century.