When Glenn Reddiex came across a postcard of a great-great uncle while researching his family history, it sparked his interest in piecing together history through postcards. Reddiex, has since built a collection of more than 4000 postcards, most of which are from World War I.
His fascination with postcards started with one written by his great-great uncle, Private George Douglas Fox, who was wounded in the chest and sent to hospital in Egypt. After he recovered he discovered his younger brother had been killed on the Somme. Despite that, the messages he sent home indicated he remained in high spirits. His message was simple: "Somewhere in the trenches, to Aunty Anne, from George with best wishes." Sadly, Fox was killed in Belgium on June 8, 1917 and his body was never found.
Fifteen members of the Hamilton Tigers stand in a row, unsmiling. They're pictured on a weathered, undated, sepia-toned postcard. That antique postcard now sits in a box, like 4,000 others that offer glimpses into the past, in the McMaster University library. "What really struck me was the number of postcards people used to send of disasters." Fires, shipwrecks and floods are all pictured on various postcards in the collection.
Library staff have launched an online crowd-sourcing campaign to label the postcards with their country, city and date of origin. nyone interested in contributing to the project can visit postcards.mcmaster.ca to help categorize the postcards.