The Postcard Collection contains over 200 color and black and white views of buildings, landmarks and scenic views from Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and the surrounding region.   Southeast Missouri State University (formerly the Missouri State Normal School –Third District, and later the Southeast Missouri State Teachers College) are also represented.  Views of other Missouri, Kentucky and Illinois locales are also included, as are a few novelty and advertising cards.

Many of the postcards in the collection were sent through the mail and have messages included on them.  Most of the examples with messages included are from the early 1900s.  One example is the following postcard of Leming Hall from 1912 sent to Miss Ellen Bollinger in Sedgewickville, MO.

Bluffs on King’s Highway, Cape Girardeau, Mo., Postmarked 1936 Aug 11
Bluffs on King’s Highway, Cape Girardeau, Mo. (Back of Card), Postmarked 1936 Aug 11

The message on the back of the postcard reads:

“Hello Ellen: How are you? I am fine. You made a pretty good guess and I must affirm that you are a good guesser. I rec’d your postal alright and will send many thanks for same. I certainly would like to have been at Patton for the Picnic but I had to go to Millersville. I am attending church at Sedgewickville where there are [sic] being held a protracted meeting. But I am getting so sleepy I will have to quit being out so much. Will have to close as space is limited. So am soon from a friend. C. Y.”

A new exhibit featuring more examples of the postcard messages has been installed in the display case on the 3rd floor of Kent Library.  The display case is located to the right of the main stairs near the railing that overlooks the 2nd floor main entrance.

Postcard Collection Exhibit Display Case, 3rd Floor, Kent Library

This exhibit includes postcards written to and from Miss Sadie Kent, Kent Library’s namesake.  You can also view an image from inside the library when it was located in Academic Hall.  At that time the university was known as Missouri State Normal School.

Also on display are postcards of King’s Highway, Themis, and Ellis streets from Cape Girardeau, MO.  You can still visit each of these streets today and see how the images from the past compare to the current appearance of each street.  Another postcard in the exhibit is an artist’s rendering of a bird’s eye view of State Normal School in Cape Girardeau, MO.

Birds Eye View State Normal School, Cape Girardeau, Mo., Postmarked 1913 Jul 19

A historical note that accompanies this postcard in the digital collection reads:  “The buildings represented in this bird’s-eye view of campus are the earliest buildings constructed on the campus of the Normal School in the twentieth century. Science Hall, now A. S. J. Carnahan Hall, is the oldest building still standing, constructed in 1901. With the exception of the dormitories, all of these buildings still exist and are in use on the campus.”

Birds Eye View State Normal School, Cape Girardeau, Mo. (Back of Card), Postmarked 1913 Jul 19

The message on the back of the postcard reads:

“Dear Clara, We are certainly having a dandy time on the boat. Just landed at Paducah a little while ago and had an auto ride through the town. Bye Bye. Come over some time. Love to all Laura.”

There are several more postcards from the collection that are not on display in the exhibit case.  If you would like to continue learning about the written messages that were not on display, you can come view the full Postcard collection in Special Collections & Archives, Kent Library, Room 306.  Alternately, you can view the digitized collection online at:

Special Collections & Archives acquires, preserves, and makes accessible research materials that document the historical, literary, and cultural experience of Southeast Missouri, the Mississippi River Valley region, and the history of Southeast Missouri State University.  All holdings are available for use by visiting scholars and the general public, as well as by Southeast faculty and students.

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