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Digital Collections

About this collection

cavell postcards

The Kay Seidenberg Nursing Postcard Collection consists of American and European postcards relating to the nursing profession. Seidenberg, a 1985 graduate of the VCU School of Nursing, began collecting postcards shortly after embarking on her nursing career. At first she was more of a generalist in her collecting, but she gradually began to acquire nursing related cards.

While building her collection she learned about Edith Cavell, an English nurse who was executed by the Germans in 1915 for assisting Allied soldiers to escape from occupied Belgium. Cavell’s story fascinated Seidenberg and she made the martyred nurse the focus of her collection. The Cavell postcards were bought from dealers or obtained at postcard shows primarily in the Mid-Atlantic region. Seidenberg once exhibited her Cavell collection for the Old Dominion Postcard Club.

Cavell postcards were fairly easy to acquire. The British nurse and her story were popular with British, Belgium, and other European postcards producers. These publishers took advantage of the frenzy surrounding Cavell’s execution and produced cards that memorialized the nurse and contributed to the anti-German propaganda campaign. They produced real photo, linen, comic, and serial cards. Representative cards of each type can be found in the Seidenberg collection. 

To learn more about Edith Cavell, see the online exhibit of the same name in the VCU Libraries Gallery.

Copyright

Materials in the collection are of mixed copyright status. While many of the postcards in the collection are in the public domain, (and thus are free of any copyright restriction), some postcards are of unknown copyright status. Each individual postcard has a copyright status noted in the metadata, and copyright status should be further investigated before publishing or commercial use.  We ask that you acknowledge the VCU Libraries if any of the materials are used.

Additional research information 

The Kay Seidenberg Nursing Postcard Collection is housed in Special Collections and Archives at the Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences. Please direct reference and research inquires to libtmlsca@vcu.edu or call (804) 828-9898. 

 

 

 
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