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Library receives gift of Bowers postcard collection



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SELECTMAN DAVE BOWERS (center), the board’s representative to the Wolfeboro Public Library Board of Trustees, and his wife Christie, donated their extensive collection of New England postcards to the Wolfeboro Public Library recently. Chairman of the Board John Sandeen (left) and Library Director Cindy Scott gratefully accepted the archival donation. (Elissa Paquette photo) (click for larger version)
June 21, 2012
WOLFEBORO — All Wolfeboro Public Library Director Cindy Scott had to do was mention her dream of establishing a postcard collection of historical interest to residents of Wolfeboro at a monthly meeting of the Board of Trustees and Voila!, her wish came true.

Selectman Dave Bowers, who attends board meetings as a representative of the Board of Selectmen, has an international reputation as a numismatist and author of over three dozen books, all providing historical perspectives on whatever subject matter on which he chooses to focus his considerable intellectual energy. A three-volume History of Wolfeboro, 1770 – 1994 is a popular reference book for many.

He and his wife, Christie, who shares his interest in history, not only just happened to have a collection of postcards gathered over a period of more than 30 years, but they were willing to turn over nearly 3,000 cards to the library.

Scott was thrilled to accept the two cabinets filled with cards and has started, with the help of volunteers, to organize and index the collection. "It's absolutely amazing!...I have a lot to learn," she says, as she quickly proceeds to delineate the work ahead along the way to the final goal of having an indexed collection. That includes setting up a software program and categorizing them systematically.

The bulk of the work will have to wait until the rush of the summer season is over, but patrons may call to make an appointment to take a look.

The collection emphasizes postcards from the "Golden Era" of the early 20th century, primarily in color. Bowers describes photographic postcards specific to Wolfeboro, as part of "…the Fletcher series circa 1912 when a Vermont photographer came to Wolfeboro to document the local scene, ranging from Post Office Square (down Main Street between the present Spencer-Hughes and Avery buildings to islands in Lake Wentworth)—a unique record of high-resolution images.

"[They] also document events such as the tornado that ripped through Wolfeboro in 1910, parades, and more. Lake Winnipesaukee is well represented with color images ranging from the S.S. Mount Washington steamer to private yachts and boats, including the "Swallow" that operated out of Goodhue & Hawkins for many years."

Other towns in New Hampshire each include definitive images, totaling many thousands of cards, the largest collection of New Hampshire views ever assembled.

It is anticipated that the collection will be a magnet for authors, researchers, publications, and others seeking hard-to-find images."

Scott agrees and is excited about the possibilities it opens up. She wanted to begin a collection and now has a full-fledged resource at hand.

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