Monday, June 29, 2009

Coming Soon

Postcards of Canton
publication date - November 2009
Reserve your copy today
(order form below)

I think that my first postcard of a Canton landmark was of the Blue Hill Weather Observatory. And while strictly not "Canton" it was close enough for me. Over the years of traveling to various antique stores and print shops, invariably it was the box of postcards that would occupy my time. searching for a card that was from my hometown was so elusive, and yet over the years a card or two would pop up and I would buy it for a dollar or two.

This all changed in 1996 when eBay opened up a word of connections to postcards and buying became as simple as typing in a search command. Of course, other collectors quickly discovered the virtual postcard box and competition was fierce. Cards that would cost one or two bucks were now commanding twenty dollars. Local collectors were stealthy in both their identity and tactics. Over time the collection grew, and still the question remained - how many cards are there?

Postcards are stories, short messages to loved ones and a view of a landmark that would be considered "prominent". Many cards were sent home from workers in mills, or immigrant laborers who began to call Canton home at the turn of the last century. The views of the Neponset Woolen Mills, Paul Revere & Sons, Washington Street, local churches, historic homes and our public buildings.

Earlier this year Arcadia Publishing agreed to produce a book that features all of the best images from Canton's history as connected by postcards produced in the early 19th century. The idea for the book came from this blog and from working closely with key local collectors and historians. My small collection along with cards from the Canton Historical Society and the Canton Public Library - Daniel Keleher Collection were the foundation. Charles Crespi and Peter Sarra gave access to their extensive and fine collections which provides a rare glimpse into superb and rare sets.

After six months of research, scanning and writing captions what emerged was a collection of over 200 photographs that show Canton through the eyes of postcards. The stories are simple and short and place the reader in a town that is very different than that of today. The photographs are vaguely familiar yet distant. I suppose it was my hope that the book would be a local travelogue that could be taken around town and compared with views of today. As for the answer to the question of how many cards feature Canton sites... at this point I know of over 300 images many of which were privately produced and extremely rare.

The book will be available in November from local bookstores and online at as well as through local shops and direct from the author. This is a terrific companion volume to the Images of America: Canton, by R. Marc Kantrowitz published in 2000.

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