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Series I: Artists and Personalities
Organization: Subseries A: Cuban Artists and Subseries B: Cuban Personalities
Series I consists of postcards of images of Cuban artists and personalities or their work. It is arranged in alphabetical order within each subseries.
Series II: Cuba: General A-Z
In Series II are postcards depicting various aspects of Cuba without geographic definition arranged in alphabetical order.
Series III: Cuba: Cities and Places (except Havana)
Series III postcards depict towns, cities, and provinces in Cuba except Havana organized in alphabetical order by place name.
Series IV: Havana
One of the largest series in this collection, Series IV consists of postcards of the city and province Havana, divided by subjects and arranged alphabetically.
Series V: Cuban Exile
Series V consist of postcards produced outside of Cuba and representing various aspects of the exile experience, including businesses, events, personalities, and political activities. Several geographic areas are represented with a special emphasis on the Miami area.
Series VI: Postal Folders
Postal folders are a collection of postcards published together and primarily consisting of views of particular places, events, themes, and activities. These are often published as booklets or connected by accordion folds. The postal folders in this collection offer views of or other information about Cuba.
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When postcards were first produced in the mid-1800s, they became popular instantly as a quick and affordable means of communication. By the 1890s, several developments converged to give rise to the popularity and widespread use of postcards: changes in postal regulations, the widespread use of photography, and improved printing techniques.
In the early part of the 20th century, postcards were printed predominantly in Germany and the United States. A publisher commissioned postcards either from a printer's existing stock of images or from a local photographer. Many businesses such as hotels stores, and restaurants commissioned postcards to promote their services and products.
Postcards were popular because they served as souvenirs, a means of communication, could be used for advertising, and were highly collectible. To today's researcher, they convey bits of information about the people and places they depict. Postcards inform about tourism, industries and occupations, transportation, urban and rural life, people, local architecture, buildings and monuments, and events.
The Cuban Postcard Collection is a continuously growing collection of postcards of Cuba and the Cuban experience outside of Cuba. They have been purchased by or donated to the Cuban Heritage Collection for several decades. Several hundred postcards are acquired each year, allowing us to continue providing them as valuable research tools.