Gertrud's Postcard Project

What began as a simple act of kindness to preserve my grandmother’s cherished postcard albums developed into a web-based archive to organize and document a complete family collection. It is rare how few of these collections remain intact; too many go to flea markets or to postcard dealers, to be split up and sold as individual postcards.

Once I organized all 1271 postcards chronologically and had them transcribed from Sütterlin-script to modern text, it became very clear that they formed a snapshot of family life around the time of the First World War in Germany. They speak of run-away inflation, food shortages, and the Great Pandemic; also romance, courtship, daily work, and visits among friends and family. I believe the story they tell both individually and as a collection should be shared beyond my family.

Approved Postcard Transcriptions:

Approved Postcard Translations:

Although postcard messages are brief compared to letters, when  read in a collection they build a thread of thought that can be viewed as the text messages of the early 1900s. Unlike the text messages in use today, for which there is no established form of archiving, postcards can be saved as cherished keepsakes or souvenirs archived for or by future generations.

Phase 1 of the project created this website to present the postcards’ transcriptions and translations, and encourage viewers to post comments or corrections.  Phase 2 has begun to design a new website to present the collection with new detail and interactive features.  The final phase is for the collection to be housed in an institution as both an online academic and artistic resource, and a stand-alone interactive museum exhibit.

I currently seek sponsorship and partnerships with museums, libraries, and other cultural institutions to have this work completed and exhibited as part of the 100th anniversary of the end of First World War in 2018.

Sincere thanks for your assistance and donations

Daniel Thomas Nauke