Sunday, October 4, 2020

Vintage Postcards - Great For A Peek into History & a Giveaway!

By Pamela S. Meyers

When I began to research for my first historical novel, Surprised by Love in Lake Geneva, set in 1933, I found that old postcards of the area and the mansions on the lake were a huge help to me. I had a few postcards in my possession and began searching the internet for more. Since the story involves the building of the Riviera building at the lakefront in Lake Geneva, I began ordering postcards that depicted the building as it appeared when it first opened. But the most important card to me was an aerial view of the beach and lakefront before construction on the Riviera began. The beach then was just a thin strip of sand and where the Riviera now sits, an old ramshackle building served as a dance hall. 

Fast forward to a few years later when I began my current historical series. Old postcards once again provided valuable information as I wrote the first
book, Safe Refuge. I knew in my head what I wanted the home in my story to look like. My vision was much like a large three-story home on the Snug Harbor estate. That home burned down when I was a child, but I still remember it. When I stumbled upon what has since been my favorite postcard in my collection I knew it was what I was looking for. That's the postcard on the right. I sent a copy of the postcard to my cover designer and you can see it on the cover of my book. Since then, every cover in my series uses postcards from my collection. One of the plusses of using postcards that way is that postcards are considered public domain and no usage fee is required. 

Below are a few of the postcards from my collection. Some were used on my book covers and others were only used as a reference or pure enjoyment because they always take me back to a bygone time. I hope you get as much enjoyment from them as I do.

These are only a hint of all the old postcards I have collected so far. Besides the nostalgia they provide me, they have served me well by sometimes providing me a plot point or storyline in my stories, giving me fodder for descriptions of the landscaping around the fictional estates I create and where the photos include people, the style of clothing and hair.

Do you collect things like postcards or other items from the past? Please tell me if you do. Leave a comment and I'll put your name in a drawing for your choice of any one of my historicals.

Pam lives in northern Illinois, a short drive from her hometown of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. When she's not writing her next novel, she can be found leading Bible studies (on Zoom these days), reading, and trying to keep her two rescue cats in line.


  1. I am a collector of many things. Old recipes, buttons, marbles, small glass boxes.
    mauback55 at gmail dot com

  2. I love your postcards! When I was a kid I collected matchbooks but that went by the wayside. Over the years other things have come and gone. Now lack of space forces me to not gather stuff unless something else goes. Thanks for the giveaway! bcrug at twc dot com

  3. I enjoy collecting old books,buttons,wooden items,furniture and house hold decorations.
    Cnnamongirl at all for com