The Sonoma County Library Postcard Collection includes both commercial and real-photo postcards, most from the 1890s through the 1930s. While the majority of postcards depict Sonoma County scenes and businesses, the collection also includes a significant number of postcards depicting the destruction in San Francisco wrought by the 1906 earthquake.
Kodak began offering a pre-printed card in 1902 that allowed negatives to be printed directly on one side, and in 1903, introduced the Kodak 3A camera in 1903, designed to print standard postcard-sized (3.5 in. by 5.5 in.) images. This process led to a flood of what became known as "Real Photo" postcards as local and traveling photographers captured important events, places and people on postcards that could be used for publicity or sold in local shops to tourists. The collection includes a number of Sonoma County photographers who made a living in this way:
Additional postcard images may be found in other collections, particularly the Sonoma County Historical Society Collection, Sonoma County Visionaries, Immigrants and Winemakers Collection, and the Western Sonoma County Historical Society Collection. A number of postcards may also be found in the Sonoma County Library Photograph Collection because they had not been previously identified as such; please leave a comment if you find a postcard in this collection so we can move it to the correct collection.
The Google maps and Streetview images displayed below many of the Collection's images are based on the best information available in the records. In some cases, that information may be incorrect or Google was unable to interpret the address correctly (more than a few street names have changed over time and lots may have been renumbered). If you find an incorrect location for a particular image, we welcome corrections! Please use the comment feature at the bottom of the page and provide more accurate information if you have it. We verify the corrections and update our information.
We also welcome information on unidentified locations and people in our collections -- unfortunately, we have many such images . If you know something more, leave a comment on this site or at our Flickr collection of unidentified images.
We welcome your questions about materials in these collections and offers of donations of photographs or other materials related to Sonoma County history and life. For local history, contact Tony Hoskins or Katherine Rinehart at the Sonoma County History & Genealogy Library; for wine-related materials, please contact Jon Haupt at the Sonoma County Wine Library.
Website questions may be directed to Geoffrey Skinner.
The Sonoma County Library makes no assertions as to ownership of any original copyrights to digitized images and can claim only physical ownership of the image(s) described in this records. However, these images are intended for Personal or Research use only. Any other kind of use, including, but not limited to commercial or scholarly publication in any medium or format, public exhibition, or use online or in a web site, may be subject to additional restrictions, including but, not limited to the copyrights held by parties other than the Library.USERS ARE SOLELY RESPONSIBLE for determining the existence of such rights and for obtaining any permissions and/or paying associated fees necessary for the proposed use. Preferred credit line is: Courtesy, the Sonoma County Library. Please see additional reproduction and reuse information at http://www.sonomalibrary.org/history/orderphoto.html.