Werner von Boltenstern was born in Berlin, Germany in 1904. He emigrated to the United States in 1947 and settled in Los Angeles where he pursued a career as a free-lance photographer. His profession apparently sparked his interest in postcards and postcard collecting. Von Boltenstern amassed a huge personal collection which he donated to Loyola University in 1967. He continued to add to this collection until his death in 1978. Since then LMU's holdings have continued to grow through donations and currently contain an estimated one million cards. The Werner von Boltenstern postcard collection is one of the largest publicly-accessible collections in the United States.
The collection is divided into two parts: view cards and thematic cards.
The view cards are arranged alphabetically by location (from Aabyegade, Denmark to Zygevel, The Netherlands). Nearly every country is represented. Dates of publication range from the early twentieth-century to the present.
The thematic cards include advertising cards, art reproduction cards, comic cards, greeting cards, political cards and many others. The collection also includes cards made of materials other than paper such as leather, wood, copper and embroidery. There are also a large number of early postal cards (government-issue cards without pictures).
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