John C. Fritsche Postcard Collection

Finding aid created by Santa Barbara Historical Museum. Gledhill Library. staff using RecordEXPRESS
Santa Barbara Historical Museum. Gledhill Library.
136 E. De La Guerra
Santa Barbara, California 93101
(805) 966-1605 x105

Descriptive Summary

Title: John C. Fritsche Postcard Collection
Dates: 1901-1989
Collection Number: AR-2019-014
Creator/Collector: Fritsche, John C.
Extent: 7,300 postcards in 25 binders
Repository: Santa Barbara Historical Museum. Gledhill Library.
Santa Barbara, California 93101
Abstract: 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.
Language of Material: English


Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

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.

Preferred Citation

John C. Fritsche Postcard Collection. Santa Barbara Historical Museum. Gledhill Library.

Acquisition Information

Donated by John C. Fritsche

Biography/Administrative History

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 collecting 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 on lower State Street where the Lockheed brothers got their start on the northwest corner of State and Mason streets. He commissioned local artist Susan Dunbar to create a plaque based on a billboard advertising the Lockheed’s scenic flights. John also contributed research for 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 of Ancestors West.)

Scope and Content of Collection

Collection of approximately 7,300 postcards focused on the town of Santa Barbara, California in particular, neighboring coastal towns, and the County of Santa Barbara in general. The collection includes examples from the Undivided Back Era (1901-1907), Divided Back or Golden Age (1907 to 1915), White Border Era (1915-1930), Real Photo Postcards (1906-1950s), Linen Era (1930-1945), and Photochrom or Chrome Era (1939 to present).

Indexing Terms

Santa Barbara (Calif.)
Montecito (Calif.)
Real photo postcards

Additional collection guides