Contributed by Rhonda Rinehart.
What’s the connection between the Center for the History of Psychology and National Postcard Week? Well, about 200,000 postcards donated to the CHP. In honor of National Postcard Week and Dr. David P. Campbell who donated his collection of postcards to CHP, we are taking you on a behind-the-scenes tour of this vast collection of postcards that says as much about the art and psychology of collecting as the cards themselves say about cultural history.
This vast collection has been acquired by Dr. Campbell over three decades and represents an historical look at natural and human science as well as global society and culture encompassing a variety of themes and images. These images have been used by Dr. Campbell to explore multiculturalism and increase multicultural awareness.
Last month, Dr. Campbell visited the CHP to help organize his large collection, and to get acquainted with the new space designated for the postcards. We worked hard to organize by material type, artist, theme, people, geographical place, and subject. When all was finished, CHP had 182 linear feet of postcards from the 1800s to as late as 2008, all contained in 3-ring binders or postcard boxes to be viewed and studied by all.
A particularly interesting find among the thousands of postcards, is the Piano Playing Duck, a postcard created for Animal Behavior Enterprises, Inc. in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The image of a mallard duck turning on a light before he begins to play piano can also be seen along with animal performing props, advertisements, and manuscripts from the company right here at CHP! The Animal Behavior Enterprises collection includes many images of performing animals trained by animal psychologists Keller Breland and Marion Breland Bailey.
As the newly-created Institute for Human Science and Culture at the CHP is launched, this collection seems even more relevant to the interconnectedness between psychology, culture, and natural science. CHP is pleased to have this representation of cultural history throughout the world as a significant contribution to the Institute.