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- Chasing Steeples through WWI France

The Library of Virginia’s Visual Studies Collection has a collection of German postcards depicting non-combat scenes from the Western Front. Schaar & Dathe of Trier printed the postcards, which depict the effects of war through images of ruins, life in the camps, and the clean-up efforts of soldiers and civilians.

Schaar & Dathe of Trier was one of the biggest German postcard printers and used letterpress, lithograph, and collotype processes. During WWI, the company had 15 presses and employed 150 workers. Creating postcards during the war was an easy, affordable way to spread news visually about the areas most affected by combat. It’s odd to think of someone sending and receiving these images, but it might have been the easiest way to update someone about the damage in your town.

In thinking of how to best show these images online, I focused on the places depicted and selected the HistoryPin platform. The Library of Virginia uploads image sets with strong geographical ties to HistoryPin, so that users can explore them by location. For instance, if you look at Richmond, you’ll see all the Adolph Rice photographs we’ve uploaded, as well as everyone else’s images. Users can attach their stories and recollections to the images as well, creating multidimensional descriptions. Part of the fun of HistoryPin is matching up old photographs with current images of the … read more »

Posted in Other Departments, World War I Centennial
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