Our Iowa Heritage: Iowa City at the Turn of the Century.

204-1913 Iowa City pennantPC
(P-0048) “Missing You – Wish You Were Here” Penny Postcard. From a large series of “city” postcards from this era using felt mini-pennants and picking up on the Swedish accents of the upper Midwest.
(P-0315) Here’s another fun turn-of-the-century postcard – “I Have Nothing But Time In Iowa City” from 1913.

This penny postcard (above) advertised the Johnson County Fair in 1908…

(P-0241) Have a Happy Birthday! Even birthday greetings were conveyed using Penny Postcards. This one is postmarked in Iowa City on July 22, 1910.

At the turn of the century, penny postcards were the craze. For 1-cent, you could mail a beautiful postcard that had a scenic picture on one side and room for a brief message on the other.  Postcard producers also took their most popular individual cards and put them in very popular souvenir sets. This 8-picture post card souvenir packet was produced using pictures taken around Iowa City in the early 1900’s.


(P-0009) Postcard Packet Eight-Set – Postmarked May 17, 1906.


The whole packet could be sent for one penny, unless you wrote a message, and then it would cost you two-cents. Our copy has a message in it, so it cost the sender 2-cents!

Here’s the eight sepia postcards inside:

Old Capitol (1840), Hall of Liberal Arts (Schaeffer Hall-1902)

Hall of Applied Science (Engineering Building – 1905), Iowa River scene.

College of Medicine (Anatomy Hall & Medical Lab – 1904), College of Dentistry (1894).

University Hospital (East Hall/Seashore Hall – 1898), Athletic Pavilion (Armory – 1905)

(P-0009a) 1907 “Seeing Iowa City, Ia” Penny Post Card Set. This unique postcard set features 24 mini B&W pics of Iowa City & University of Iowa.


Set One: High School (1909), SUI Pennant, Old Capitol (1840), Medical Building (Anatomy Hall & Medical Lab – 1904), Grammar School (1893), Clinton Street. Set Two: Science Hall (Geology – 1884), Hall of Natural Science (Macbride – 1906), Birdseye View of Iowa City, Washington Street, Homeopathic Hospital (1895), Public Library (1904). Set Three: YMCA (Close Hall – 1890), Scene on Iowa River, Interurban Railway (CRANDIC – 1904), Post Office (1904), Coldren Cottage, Gymnasium/Armory (1905). Set Four: Rock Island Depot (1898), City Hall on Washington Street (1881), Johnson County Court House (1901), Lovers Leap/Iowa River, Hall of Liberal Arts (Schaeffer – 1902), Coralville Dam (1844).

(P-0223) Circa 1910 – Twelve Mini-Picture Postcard Packet. Here’s a unique turn-of-the-century postcard packet that features 12 mini-pics of Iowa City.

Row One: Iowa City High School, Iowa Avenue Bridge, Carnegie Library. Row Two: Sum Place on the River, Post Office, Clinton Street. Row Three: Court House, Old Capitol, YMCA Building. Row Four: Hall of Liberal Arts, Hall of Applied Science, Medical Labratory.


(P-0194) Penny Postcard Christmas Greeting (1909) from “The Kid” – a care-free student at SUI:  “Am alive and able to use as much bad language as ever. How are you and the rest of the bunch out that way (Solon). Now get a wiggle on you this trip or I’ll have to come and see you and you can guess what that means.”

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