The topographical picture postcard is increasingly in demand both for illustration and research purposes. For over a century it has reflected above all the popular taste of each era in terms of city depictions, yet its documentary value is not to be underestimated.
The Wien Museum owns c. 16,000 Viennese picture postcards from 1900 to the present day, with the accent on the period before the First World War. At present collecting is focused increasingly on postcards with motifs from the outer districts of Vienna, but also postcards from the period after 1945, which were long neglected as “cheap offset prints”. Special sub-collections are being built up which better explore the background to the picture postcard in terms of both media and cultural history. This includes collectors’ albums, for example, or publishers’ promotional material.
For instance, Else Erxleben’s completed postcard collection comprises some 3,500 exemplars. Erxleben, who lived in Vienna, collected cards from all over Europe in the course of her trips undertaken around 1900. She then sorted them into scrapbooks and provided them with a special commentary booklet.