BY LIZA STROUT - On Monday, Jan. 28 the Boca Grande Historical Society will be hosting author, speaker and entrepreneur Elizabeth Hunter Coursen.
“Having Fun, Wish You Were Here! An Illustrated History of the Postcard in Florida,” is a program by the Sarasota resident, using museum-quality vintage postcard images to portray Florida’s growth in the first half of the 20th century.
This trip across time, from Florida’s history as a backwoods swamp in the early 1900s through its transformation into a vacation paradise after World War II, has been organized to coincide with the 500th birthday of the Sunshine State. While the east coast of Florida and the interior of the state were developed early, the state wasn’t seen as a desireable destination for fun in the sun until the invention of the air conditioner. In the ’40s and ’50s, bright linen postcards introduced the colorful beaches and vast orange groves of the state to the world.
Some people remember the exact moment when they fell in love for the first time, the exact moment when they graduated from college, the exact moment when they bought their first car. Coursen remembers the exact moment when she became a postcard collector. View More images >>
“I was at an antiques show in Atlanta, chatting with a nice-looking young man, a young man who was obviously and flatteringly interested in me: where I’d grown up, where I'd gone to college, what my hobbies and interests were. I’d practically named our first-born child when, suddenly, he thrust a pile of what turned out to be old postcards in my hands. More to be polite than anything else, I looked down, and there was my hometown’s Main Street ... but the streets weren’t paved! Were those horses on Main Street? Yes, they were! The nice-looking young man, our future together, the antiques show all disappeared as I stared at the view of my hometown’s Main Street, circa 1906. The whole room went away and, in that moment, I became a postcard collector. It’s been thirty years, but I remember that moment like it was yesterday. I’ve been a postcard collector ever since.”
The Historical Society presentation will be held in the Boca Grande Community Center auditorium on Monday, Jan. 28 at 10 a.m., and is free and open to the public. There will be a reception in the Woman’s Club room following the program.
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