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The Werner von Boltenstern postcard collection is one of the largest publicly-accessible collections in the United States. It contains approximately 1 million postcards from around the world, dating from the beginnings of postcard production in the late 19th century, and extending to the present. Items selected for digitization document the history of Southern California, particularly the greater Los Angeles area, during the first half of the 20th century. This subset of images was selected to provide considerable breadth of coverage, and features prominent businesses and shopping centers, resorts, parks, celebrities' homes, amusement parks and rides, earthquakes, transportation, religious and educational institutions, as well as general views.
Werner von Boltenstern was born in Berlin, Germany in 1904. He worked for several years as a photographer, which brought him in contact with the field of postcards. He traveled throughout Europe, selling photographs of points of interest for use on postcards. He emigrated to the United States in 1947, settling in Los Angeles where he married and raised a family. Although he changed careers to become a real estate salesman, his interest in postcards and postcard collecting continued. He was active in several Southern California postcard clubs and amassed a huge personal collection, which he donated to Loyola Marymount University in 1967. During 1969 and 1970, he also published a series of 24 monthly bulletins on the history of postcards and postcard collecting.
Approximately 1 million postcards, 200 of which are available online 200 online items
Collection open for research.