Postcards, ephemera and local history
Rockland — Rockland Historical Society and the Rockland Public Library will host a postcard and ephemera show and sale Saturday, Oct. 26, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Friends Community Room of the library, 80 Union St. Eight Maine dealers will be selling old postcards and historical paper items. Admission will be $3.
At the same time, the Rockland Historical Society Museum, next to the Community Room, will be open free to the public with tours of the museum. In the museum, Rockland Historical Society, Camden-Rockport Historical Society and Thomaston Historical Society each will have a table at which they will be selling their publications and any duplicate historical ephemera they wish to part with. The historical societies will be giving out membership applications and promoting their upcoming programs. DVDs of Rockland history, produced by GEM Productions, will be for sale.
Starting before the turn of the 20th century, itinerant photographers traveled around the country, photographing streetscapes, landmarks, businesses, country stores, steamboats, sailing vessels, trains, events and people — i.e., picturesque scenes to encourage tourism. In 1916, Maine Governor Oakley C. Curtis proclaimed April 19 as Postcard Day and urged every Maine household to mail six postcards to friends and family, inviting them to visit Maine for a vacation. Because of this clever promotion, many early views of the small towns of Maine have survived.
In 1909, R. Herman Cassens, who grew up in Rockland, started the Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Co., a “real photo” postcard company, in Belfast. He and his small crew of photographers drove through small towns, exposing glass plate negatives and sending them back to Belfast to be developed and printed. The postcards sold in general stores, two for a nickel.
When Cassens sold the Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Co. in 1947, he had covered New England and upstate New York. Many of the 40,000 glass plate negatives from the Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Co., especially those from Maine, are now in the Photograph Archives of the Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport, and the photo archives team produces beautiful reproduction postcards and larger photographic prints of the images. Photo archivists from the Penobscot Marine Museum will be selling reproduction postcards and photographs from the Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Co. at the postcard show.
Anyone with old postcards of Maine they would like to donate to the Rockland Historical Society for its collection or for sale is invited to bring them to the society any Tuesday or Thursday between noon and 5 p.m.; or call Eleanor Richardson at 596-5502 for pick up. During the postcard show, there will be a postcard specialist in the historical society museum who can offer advice about old postcards.
There will be coffee and food for sale at the postcard show, and extra parking is available at the Rockland Community Center, on Limerock Street, and behind the Bok Medical Building, between Beech and Maple streets.
The Library Bookshop, next to the Community Room, is open every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., selling good used books at bargain prices.
Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or email@example.com.