“Wish You Were Here: Selections from the Mike Van Ark Postcard Collection” will be on display through Aug. 5.
American postcards were created as an easier way to send quick notes and were printed only by the U.S. Postal Service until May 1898. The first postcards were called “private mailing cards” and cost 1 cent to send. The sender’s message was written over the image itself because writing was not permitted by law on the address side.
Mike Van Ark began collecting in the 1970s by adding to his mother’s collection. After attending shows in Michigan and Chicago, his collection soon reached 5,000 cards. Within recent years, Van Ark sold his collection of South Haven, Grand Haven, Saugatuck/Douglas, New Richmond, Fennville, Allegan and Hamilton images.
The collection, featured in this exhibition, begins in the year 1900 and includes images of the city of Holland, around the north and south side of Lake Macatawa (Black Lake), and the Lakeshore.