December 7, 2012

Acquiring our Collections - The Mulvaney Postcard Collection

Although the Montana Historical Society relies primarily upon donations to build our collections, we occasionally take on the challenge of raising money to purchase large collections that we feel would be significant to the study of Montana history. 
A sample postcard from the Tom Mulvaney Collection.
Recently, we have been presented with and accepted such a challenge. Tom Mulvaney, an East Helena postcard collector, acquired a collection of real-photo and printed postcards over thirty years.  This collection of nearly 32,000 postcards includes cards from 1898 to the 1970s, with the bulk of the collection from pre-1930.  The cards cover a wide variety of topics in Montana history—including mining, agriculture, commerce, western life, and American Indians.  The postcards document the historical landscape of many towns—rural and urban—that still exist and that are no longer part of the Montana landscape.  There are also images of many railroads, both Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, main streets and promotional advertising, and Montana artists. 

The Mulvaney Collection provides substantial visual documentation of Montana’s history in the early 20th century.  With many thousands of views illustrating towns and their development; historic events, including strikes and disasters; and appearances by notable personalities, this collection documents many different aspects of Montana history.
Many of the views included in this collection are rare and one-of-a-kind.  The contents of the collection, from both a topical and a format point of view, are very significant to the study and documentation of Montana history.

We look to you, our friends and supporters, for help in acquiring this important collection.  If you are interested in assisting us with this acquisition, visit our webpage for more information.