Greetings from Alabama: A Pictorial History in Vintage Postcards
8 x 9
April 1, 2016
Although he was a native of Bullock County, Alabama, Wade Hall -- teacher, writer, poet, critic, interviewer, folklorist, and documentarian -- spent most of his fifty-year career in Kentucky. But he was never emotionally far from his home as evidenced by his passion for collecting vintage Alabama postcards. In his lifetime he amassed tens of thousands, which he then graciously gave to the University of Alabama Libraries in a large bequest that also included rare books, quilts, folk art, letters and more. These postcards date from the late 1800s to the mid-20th century, and collectively offer a fascinating and diverse picture of the state -- of places beautiful and iconic, historic and scenic, and some just off the beaten track.
The meaning of postcards that could be purchased as a travel souvenir or for mailing to family and friends is largely forgotten today, when cameras are commonplace and instantaneous communication with loved ones is routine. But the value of Hall's stunning collection cannot be missed. The some 400 cards featured in Greetings from Alabama are appealing and revealing of some scenes that are familiar and others that are rare. Many are of historic sites and panoramas that have all but disappeared. From Birmingham's Vulcan to Mobile's Bellingrath Gardens, from Black Belt cotton fields to Sand Mountain rock formations, from Enterprise's boll weevil monument to Huntsville's rockets, from Helen Keller's home to William Rufus King's resting place, from the state capitol to numerous county courthouses, the scenes preserved on Hall's postcards cards offer captivating glimpses of Alabama history.