The Myron Van Ark Postcard Collection was recently posted on the imagecollections @ Hope College, the archival image repository which features rare and historic materials from the Hope College Libraries and Archives. This collection is a representation of the area of Holland in the form of postcards. Hundreds of these images were collected by Myron Van Ark and his mother. They provide a glimpse into the past, showing the heavy impact of Dutch culture on Western Michigan as far back as the 1800s. Much of this local postcard collection is now available in digital form, and Geoffrey Reynolds, Director of the Joint Archives of Holland, says “This collection represents one of the largest examples of images of postcards that I have ever had the pleasure of seeing.” The online image collection allows for viewers to also examine the reverse side of each postcard, providing a
translation of the 19th and 20th century handwriting that is inscribed on the back. These messages are a range of simple inscriptions from “would like to have you with us” to “will write when I have more time”.
Reynolds is involved in a project that will highlight these collections to create a ‘Digital Holland’. This program will provide an online report of historical research projects, locations, subjects and particular personalities of the Holland area. All Hope College students, faculty, staff and members of the Holland community will be able to connect to this site. The Special Collections site will give researchers the opportunity to keep tabs on past or present research projects through mobile devices. Reynolds says the site aims to produce a prototype by this time next year: “My hope is that by presenting these images online via the Special Collections site at the Van Wylen Library, researchers will be able to enjoy and use them for their viewing pleasure and research projects at no cost.” Be sure to visit the Joint Archives for updates on this collection and the history of Holland.