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Knowles Postcard Collection

Identifier: spe-kpc

Scope and Contents

The Knowles Postcard Collection consists of over 100 color and black-and-white postcards of Chicago scenes dated between circa 1890 and circa 1967. Areas of focus include scenes of Lake Shore Drive and Michigan Avenue, the Water Tower, and O’Hare Airport. The collection includes postcards that are both stamped and addressed with a short note, and others which are blank, as well as three postcard booklets.


  • circa 1890 – circa 1967

Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Please consult staff to determine ability to reuse materials from collection.

Biographical / Historical

The Knowles Postcard Collection was formed by separating 129 postcards depicting Chicago scenes from a larger collection of 8,000-10,000 postcards.


2 Linear Feet (in 2 boxes, including 129 postcards)

Language of Materials



The collection includes 100 postcards with scenes of Chicago.


The postcards are arranged by subject, then alphabetically by date. Subjects include: Business Establishments, Clubs and Organizations, Municipal Agencies, Museums, Parks, Religious Organizations, Residences, Schools, Streets, Transportation, and World Fairs. The postcard dates are taken from the print date of the postcards when possible, or from the postmark if no publication date is known.

Custodial History

Sarah Kathlane Baxter McCool and her daughter, JoAnn Baxter Zeisel, formed the original collection, which numbered between 8,000 and 10,000 postcards. K. Johnson and Catherine Knowles inherited this collection in the 1990s and gave over 100 postcards that depict scenes of Chicago to Chicago Public Library.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated to the Chicago Public Library by K. Johnson and Catherine Knowles in the 1990s.

Related Materials

  • Beaman Photograph Album
  • Chicago Postcard Collection

Guide to the Knowles Postcard Collection
Original author unknown. Processed 1990s. Updated and ingested into ArchivesSpace by Johanna Russ, 2021.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Unit at Harold Washington Library Center Repository

Harold Washington Library Center, 9th Floor
Chicago Public Library
400 S. State Street
Chicago IL 60605 United States
(312) 747-4875