The Fritsche Postcard Collection contains approximately 7,300 postcards gathered and organized by collector John C. Fritsche.
The collection emphasizes the City of Santa Barbara, California in particular, neighboring coastal towns, the County of Santa
Barbara in general, and the California Missions. The collection contains examples of all 20th century postcard styles.
See the link, "Guide to the John C. Fritsche Postcard Collection" for a history of the postcard in the United States. John
Fritsche is an avid historian of Santa Barbara’s past, especially aviation. He has developed a
specialty in the history of technology and the institutions that develop it.
Fritsche graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with a degree in agriculture and married his wife Ruth in Santa Barbara
in 1952. He
was inducted into the US Army during the Korean War and attended radio repair school at Fort Sheridan outside Chicago, Illinois.
After he finished his service, Fritsche and family headed back to Santa Barbara. During his career he was employed at Aerophysics,
Raytheon, and Delco. Later, at Hughes, he worked on highly classified projects doing configuration management.
John Fritsche’s outstanding collection of photographic images of old Santa Barbara began as an interest in postcards. Postcard
was an inexpensive way for him to collect historical photographs and he often attended postcard shows at Earl Warren Showgrounds.
Many people writing about Santa Barbara’s history have come to him for images to illustrate their articles.
John Fritsche spearheaded the effort to develop the plaque memorializing the location of Malcolm and Allan Lockheeds’ workshop
lower State Street where the Lockheed brothers got their start on the northwest corner of State and Mason streets. He commissioned
artist Susan Dunbar to create a plaque based on a billboard advertising the Lockheed’s scenic flights. John also contributed
the book, "The Puritan Ice Companies: The Ice Empire of California's Central Coast," authored by David Petry.
Fritsche is a long-time member of the Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society and has served on its board of directors.
He has also
authored many articles for its publication, Ancestors West.
(Some of the above material is from an interview of John Fritsche by Debbie Kaska and Dorothy Oksner in the Summer 2017 issue
7,300 postcards in 25 binders
Property rights reside with the Santa Barbara Historical Museum. For permissions to reproduce or to publish, please contact
the Head Archivist of the Gledhill Library.
Collection is open for research.