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Collection M 194:
Nina Heald Webber Southwest Colorado collection:
The post cards

Picture side of postcard -- click to view larger image

Nina Heald Webber, compiler
Years this material was created: circa 1892-1991
Quantity: more than three thousand post cards

 © 2003  by Fort Lewis College Foundation, Center of Southwest Studies account (updated February 2007)

Links to contents


Introduction/ Scope and contents


Estimating a postcard's date

Book for sale

Digital images

Administrative info

Postcard categories

 Lists of post cards 
Center of Southwest Studies collection inventories

Other postcard collections on the Web

Center of Southwest Studies

Introduction/ Scope and contents

This collection contains more than 3,000 postcards of Durango, Silverton, Ouray, Telluride and adjacent areas, which Nina Heald Webber compiled and donated to the Center of Southwest Studies.  Volume titles/ six overall subject categories of the postcards are: (1) early Durango, (2) later Durango and local narrow gauge railroads, (3) Mesa Verde and Aztec Ruins, (4) Silverton/ Animas Canyon, (5) Telluride/ Ouray/ Ophir, and (6) other Southwest Colorado areas.  All of the postcards are accessible for viewing online for purposes of personal research.  The total number of postcards (including other postcard collections at the Center, is 4,100).

Dr. David Farmer wrote the following in his appraisal of this collection (which has grown significantly since that time):

The six volumes of cards include the entire range of postal card history, from the earliest period (the 1890s through World War I), and on through “white border” (1915-1930), linens (1930-1944), and photochromes (1945 to the present).  The collection also has strong representation in real photograph post cards which were produced from the late 1800s through the early 1950s.  There are 361 subject headings required to represent this collection – another indication of its strength.  Categories include early flight, street scenes, early buildings, events (floods, parades, fairs, agricultural expositions, rodeos, and sports), sites (such as dams and reservoirs), industries (such as oil, railroads, lumber, mining and smelting), businesses, and birds-eye views of towns.

One useful aspect of this collection is that it documents the changes in structures, cities, and landscapes -- and the viewer can see all of these images online!  To view a collection of aerial panorama photos of the city of Durango over time, click here.  Below are five views of the motel at 2002 North Main Avenue that is currently the Econo Lodge of Durango (click on each image for a larger picture):

Picture side of postcard -- click to view larger image Picture side of postcard -- click to view larger image Picture side of postcard -- click to view larger image Picture side of postcard -- click to view larger image Picture side of postcard -- click to view larger image
Title: Motor Inn Court Motor Inn Court La Plata Motel La Plata Motel La Plata Motel
Call #: M 194, Vol. 1, item #273 M 194, Vol. 1, item #284 M 194, Vol. 2, item #174 M 194, Vol. 2, item #419 M 194, Vol. 2, item #313

Administrative information

Funding/ acknowledgments:  Funding for the digitization/ online image access aspects of this project was provided by two Colorado Digitization Program (CDP) grants as part of the Center’s Western Trails Visual Access digitization project which is a part of the multi-state Collaborative Digitization Program.  CDP projects are supported through a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (a federal grant-making agency in Washington, D.C., which fosters innovation, leadership and a lifetime of learning by supporting museums and libraries) with additional assistance from the Colorado State Library and the Colorado Regional Library Systems.  This joint venture is preserving traces of this region’s history that would have otherwise be unavailable.  One of many benefits of the new accessibility of this collection is that the postcards provide historical preservation specialists with an invaluable resource used when restoring old buildings in the Southwest.  Teams of researchers have found them useful for restoration projects in Rico, Telluride, and elsewhere. 

Through its partnership with the Collaborative Digitization Program (CDP) (formerly the Colorado Digitization Program), the Center of Southwest Studies has digitized many thousands of images selected from a number of collections, for viewing on the Web for educational purposes and research.  To search for digital images at the Center of Southwest Studies and elsewhere, go to Heritage West.

The CDP is supported through a National Leadership Grant to the University of Denver Penrose Library from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (a federal grant-making agency in Washington, D.C., which fosters innovation, leadership and a lifetime of learning, by supporting museums and libraries) with additional assistance from the Colorado State Library, and the Colorado Regional Library Systems.

A cash gift through Nina Heald Webber enabled the Center to purchase the scanning hardware and software to continue to digitize additional postcards and countless other images in-house. 

The Center of Southwest Studies is grateful to Mrs. Webber for her willingness to share this unparalleled collection of postcards that she has so carefully assembled.  The Center also is thankful for the work of digitization consultant Nik Kendziorski and volunteer Jan Lips from 2002 through 2005.  Together, we have collaboratively bridged the distance of time by making digital images available for educational research used by an extensive audience of Internet viewers.

Acquisition information This collection is the gift of Nina Heald Webber.  The accession number for the bulk of the collection is 2002:01002 (loan and permission to copy; converted to a gift in 2004 by deed of gift).  The collection was independently appraised on November 1, 2004 by Dr. David Farmer.  Mrs. Webber has added to her original gift by numerous additional gifts (accession numbers 2004:10022, 2004:12011.1, 2005:01006.1, 2005:01010, 2005:03008, 2005:03009, 2005:03014, 2005:04005, 2005:05004.1, 2005:09007.1, 2005:09018.5, and 2005:10004).

Processing information / digitization: All 2,792 of these postcards are accessible, front and back, online.  The Center produced tiff master images that are 800 ppi (front) 600 ppi (back) (earlier scans were 400 ppi), using Adobe Photoshop and several flatbed scanners including an Epson 836XL, Epson Expression 1640XL, and HP Scanjet 4800, and created a derivative 150 ppi access jpeg image and 72 ppi thumbnail jpeg image of each scan.  Through CDP grant funding between January of 2002 and September of 2003, CSWS consultant Nik Kendziorski produced 3,094 master Tiff digital images -- the front and back scans of the initial 1,547 Webber postcards.  Todd Ellison produced the metadata for those postcards using Microsoft Access database software, with the assistance of  student archival assistant Kimberly Medved for the initial data entry in the fall of 2002.  (Click here for a screen view of one of the forms in the postcards database.)  From then through the end of 2005, Center of Southwest Studies volunteer Jan Lips added additional metadata and produced thousands more digital images (of 1,245 postcards; student assistant Michael Quiver assisted with this scanning in March-April 2005).  This guide was produced by Todd Ellison, Certified Archivist, Center of Southwest Studies; last revised December, 2005.  Macro design was by Computer Center Help Desk student worker whiz Ryan Smith in March of 2003.

Arrangement note/ overall categories of the postcards in this collection:
For ease of access, the post cards are arranged in the following groups by overall topic:

Volume 1
Durango, early (no chromalithic prints)

Volume 2

Durango, later, and  regional railroads
(chromalithic prints)

Volume 3

Mesa Verde/ Aztec Ruins

Volume 4
Animas Canyon

Volume 5
Telluride/  Ouray/ Ophir

Volume 6

Other Southwest
 Colorado areas (
including Mancos, Cortez, and Wolf Creek)

Lists of post cards in the Nina Heald Webber Southwest Colorado Collection


Click here to open a list of titles (with links to their digital images) at http://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/inventory/WebberPostcardsTitlesURLs.pdf   (note: it is 108 pages).

For much more detail about each postcard in the Webber collection and in other collections at the Center of Southwest Studies, see the  1,044-page list at the Delaney Library.

Before you can view these itemized lists, you will need a recent (5.0 or above) version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.  If you do not already have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your PC, click here and follow the instructions for downloading, opening, and installing Adobe Acrobat Reader (it's free), then return to this page.  After you have Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or 6.0 installed on your PC, you may click on the pdf file URL above to access the list.

Search suggestion: search the itemized list by name using the Edit-> Find in Page (Ctrl+F) feature on your Web browser.

Book based on this collection -- for sale:
San Juan Sampler: Selections from the Nina Heald Webber Postcard Collection (Durango, Colo.: Durango Herald Small Press, 2004).  $17.95 plus $5 shipping and handling and local tax.  Order online or email dhsp@frontier.net to purchase.

Other postcard collections described on the Web:

Collection M 195 (at the Center of Southwest Studies): Southwest postcards [this is the Center's general catch-all collection of postcards; not yet available in digital format]

Collection M 224 (at the Center of Southwest Studies): postcards in the R. H. "Bob" Tyner papers

University of Delaware Library Post Card Collection: http://www.lib.udel.edu/digital/dpc/index.htm

Library of Congress American Memory Project: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/amhome.html

Doing your own research: This description of a portion of the collections at the Fort Lewis College Center of Southwest Studies is provided to inform interested parties about the nature and depth of the repository's collections.  It cannot serve as a substitute for a visit to the repository for those with substantial research interests in the collections.

This collection is located at the Center of Southwest Studies on the campus of Fort Lewis College.  Researchers wanting more information about using this material at the Delaney Southwest Research Library at the Center may email the archivist at archives@fortlewis.edu or click here to use our E-mail Reference Request Form (or phone the archivist at 970/247-7126).  The Center does not have a budget for outgoing long-distance phone calls to answer reference requests, so please email if you wish to receive a response from the Center.  To request reproductions/copies, click here for instructions.


Page last modified: October 17, 2013