Postcards Sent from Up above Museum Displays Old Religious Cards

By Luebke, Nancy | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), September 25, 2004 | Go to article overview

Postcards Sent from Up above Museum Displays Old Religious Cards


Luebke, Nancy, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Nancy Luebke Daily Herald Correspondent

Ready for a trip down memory lane for a look at that old-time religion?

The Billy Graham Center Museum offers its exhibit of "That Old Time Religion: During the Golden Era of the Postcard" from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday at the center, Wheaton College, 500 College Ave., Wheaton.

Fifty years of Christian history is represented with postcards dating to the beginning of the 20th century, when postcards were the leading image of American popular culture. The cards surpassed drawings, paintings, wood engravings and every other form of printmaking.

"For me, personally, this is a very unique exhibit. You don't often find a postcard exhibit, and everyone can relate to postcards. We've all bought them, we've all sent them and we've all received them. They are interesting artifacts of history," said Doreen Fast, museum coordinator.

Museum staff has been collecting religious postcards for 25 years, and Fast said they have the finest collection anywhere numbering about 2,700. She added that the criteria for cards included in this exhibit was their wide appeal for the community.

The exhibit features 20 sets of postcards from the early 1900s through 1950. Each set has six to nine cards, so the exhibit features about 170 cards. Most are black and white, but some are in color and represent technology advances of the times. The postcards in the exhibit feature evangelists, gospel music, gospel musicians and revival meetings. Some even feature children evangelists, quite ordinary for the times; and evangelist Billy Sunday was featured on many postcards.

"Billy Sunday was a very dramatic and flamboyant evangelist, and there may be so many postcards of him because they were used to advertise his meetings," Fast said. …

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