Beaufort Today -

@ Your Library: Explore old Beaufort through postcards

Factoid: The study and collection of postcards is termed deltiology.

In May, the Beaufort County Library System announced its fifth online collection in partnership with the Lowcountry Digital Library. The Russell J. Arnsberger Postcard Collection is comprised of more than 350 postcards in two albums of houses, businesses, public buildings, street views, military base activities and structures in and around Beaufort. Some pictured structures are no longer extant or have been greatly altered.

Arnsberger volunteered his time and deltiological expertise to the Beaufort District Collection while he was a resident. As a parting gift, he donated his personal collection of Beaufort area postcards to the library in 2008.

Among the publishers represented in this collection of 20th century postcards are Albertype Company, Dexter Press, Charles G. Luther’s Pharmacy, Crescent Drug Company, W.R. Bristol, Palmetto Studios and Photo Arts of Winnsboro.

Postcards offer colorful glimpses into the past that all ages can appreciate. The Arnsberger collection is just a sample of what waits in store for researchers inside the Beaufort District Collection.

We have hundreds of postcards in scrapbooks, archival boxes, binders, etc. One postcard collection was assembled by staff through the years.

Lucille Hasell Culp took photographs of the area, turned them into postcards that she sold, and collected postcards of other places she had lived or visited. View 41 of her local postcards in the “Lucille Hasell Culp Collection: A Celebration of Beaufort, SC” on the Lowcountry Digital Library site at

Our most recent acquisition of postcards came via a transfer from the Heritage Library. The Rev. Dr. Robert E.H. Peeples collection consists of family correspondence on mostly World War II vintage era postcards that offer an insight into the social and political mores of the mid-20th century.

Based at the College of Charleston, the Lowcountry Digital Library produces digital collections and projects that support research about the Lowcountry region and historically interconnected sites in the Atlantic World.

Beaufort District Collection staff has been working with Lowcountry Digital Library staff for more than a decade to bring a small fraction of the library’s holdings to the internet. Together with its institutional partners, the library helps students, scholars and a wide range of public audiences develop a better understanding of the history and culture of the Lowcountry relative to the nation and the world.

Because the Lowcountry Digital Library is a hub for aggregating materials for inclusion in the Digital Public Library of America, select items from your local library are part of a national project to inspire, educate and inform people throughout the world.

We hope you enjoy looking at the Arnsberger postcards at and then come visit our research room to see even more delightful and historical images. The room is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays without appointment.

Access on Tuesdays and Wednesdays is by advance arrangement only. Call 843-255-6468 or email to make the necessary arrangements.

P.S.: I hope to have a program about our postcard collections ready to present sometime in the fall. Stay tuned. Good things are always happening at your library.

Grace Morris Cordial is coordinator of the Beaufort County Library System’s Beaufort District Collection.