I read constantly, and I am an inveterate clipper. At this point, it would be impossible for me to credit all the sources I've used, become I can't even remember them all. However, as a professional writer, I believe strongly in giving credit to those whose research helped and inspired me, so I'm determined to take a stab at it.
General Postcard InformationThe Encylopedia of Antique Postcards by Susan Brown Nicholson. A great browsing book, which covers more than 100 categories of cards. The book has a useful introduction that covers preservation and restoration, as well as other topics. The main body contains large, clear black-and-white illustrations of more than 1000 cards, coupled with readable, informative text.
The Official Identification and Price Guide to Postcards by Diane Allmen. This was the first book about postcards that I ever bought, so I have a warm place in my heart for it. Heavily illustrated, mainly in black and white, it is fun to browse through. My only problem is with the index. I wish it were easier to use when I try to find specific categories of topical cards.
Picture Postcards in the United States 1893-1918 by Dorothy B. Ryan. This is less of a browser's book and more of a history of postcards and the so-called Golden Era of Postcards.
Postcard Collector This monthly magazine is filled with articles, advertisements, and columns. Although I rarely read an entire issue, I always look at every page. This is useful for both beginners and more advanced collectors.
The Postcard Price Guide by J. L. Mashburn. This is the most general of Mashburn's postcard books; he has others that deal with specific areas, such as fantasy, sport, or artist-signed cards. Frequently updated and studded with useful tidbits of information, this book provides an overview of the many categories of cards. Readers love to quibble about the prices quoted in any price guide, so take the prices with a grain of salt. Your own geographic area may have different prices. Note, though, that these prices all refer to cards that are in very good or excellent condition. A creased or stained version of a $100 card might worth very little.
Prairie Fires and Paper Moons by Hal Morgan and Andreas Brown. This gorgeous book is probably what got me started on real photo post cards. It contains a brief but informative foreword and introduction, followed by 180 pages of wonderful images. A useful appendix helps readers date photographic postcards.
Rodeo InformationCowgirls: early images and collectibles by Judy Crandall. I love this heavily illustrated book. Most of it deals with specific cowgirls, although some also deals with the romanticized image people had of them. I bought it for the postcard information, but I was also fascinated by the "three-dimensional collectibles," which included some of the clothing worn by the women.
Cowgirls: Women of the American West by Teresa Jordan.This book deals more with modern cowgirls than with the ones pictured on old postcards, but it is a gem. You gotta love these women! Many give wonderful first-hand accounts of their lives. The author provides a useful annotated bibliography for readers who want to learn more.
Cowgirls by Bob Wade. Listed as an art book, this small book contains images of hand-colored vintage photographs, as well as a small amount of text. It will probably inspire many to begin collecting rodeo cards.
Cowgirls of the Rodeo: Pioneer Professional Athletes by Mary Lou LeCompte. This book, published by the University of Illinois Press, contains serious history, but that does not suggest that it is not a good read. What it does mean is that it contains an appendix detailing women's participation in events; approximately 30 pages of chapter notes; a bibliographical essay; and an extensive index. This book deals with modern rodeo riders (into the 1990s), as well as those in the past.
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