Pomorski i povijesni muzej Hrvatskog primorja Rijeka

Maritime and History Museum of the Croatian Littoral

Pomorski i povijesni muzej Hrvatskog primorja Rijeka

The Collection of Postcards

Head: Margita Cvijetinović Starac, curator

Despite the fact that the first postcards were donated to the museum (Kvirin Paškvan, Mici Mazzurka, Franka Paškvan, stationer’s Gj. Šikić) back in 1934, the collection is the largest of the cultural-history department and only established recently.
In the collection are stored 4,168 inventoried postcards obtained as donations and purchases.
The postcards were collected spontaneously, as possible museum items, without aspirations that they would form any kind of publishing or documentary collection. Such postcards were obtained from the entire area of the former Yugoslavia, and today the collection is replete only with those featuring motifs of cities and villages of Primorje-Gorski Kotar County.
The oldest postcard in the collection has a motif of Opatija (published by Stengel & Co. from Dresden) and is stamped with a postmark from 1893, then there follow two postcards of Rijeka from 1894 – one unknown publisher and the other by Marco Oberdorfer, a merchant from Rijeka.
If we take into consideration that the first postcards Vienna, Paris, Pest, Prague and others appeared around 1891-1892, we can say that Opatija and Rijeka didn’t lag behind in relation to other European metropolises.
The wealth of motifs is surprising and the number of about 260 publishers of postcards of our region is impressive, of which about 40 are from Rijeka (M. Oberdorfer, G. Jerouscheg, F.A. Schnautz, F. Cretich, G. Chesani, C. Wollner, A. Remhard, E. Schambik, J. Radici, L. Rosenthal, G. M. Kohn, E. Hönig, Gj. Sikić, E. Moderčin, R. Vrignanin, G. Trbojević, S. Samsa, G. Petricich, E. Fantini, F. Slocovich, M. I. Banić, J. Ahmetovi and others).
From foreign publishers there are: Philip & Kramer, Philip Rubel, G. Rüger & Co., F. Schöler and K. Ledermann iz Beča, Dr. Trenkler & Co., Mehner & Maas, Louis Glaser from Leipzig, Carl Otto Hayd, Otmar Zieher, Purger & Co. from Munich, Edgar Schmidt, Stengl & Co., Römmler & Jones from Dresden and Divald és Monostory and Divald Károly from Budapest.
The postcards were reproduced in high quality flatbed and gravure techniques, in monochrome, in sepia, blue, green and grey variants, or even colourised, and printed on various kinds of paper.
The obverse sides vary, so besides panoramic views of individual parts of the city, streets, palaces and hotels, also on the postcards are portraits of interesting characters, reproductions of artistic works, street scenes and representations of historic events – and one whole series – as for example those known under the title of Le cinque giornate di Fiume (the Five Days of Rijeka). Only one motif can be shown, a composition with many motifs or combination of motifs with a floral arrangement.
In the collection individual postcards of the 14 x 9 cm format dominate, there is something connected in the series of curved panoramas of the entire city or various motifs arranged in folders with the titles of the envelopes.
External users of the museum are in fact studying the Collection of Postcards the most today. It is an indispensible source of information in the study of the development, growth and transformation of the managed urban areas, an illustrative material for many exhibitions, in catalogues and publications of historical features.