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Ruth Elder, project leader who put together the Wade Hall Traveling Postcard Exhibit, details its contents on display at the Russellville Public Library.

Postcard exhibit highlights Alabama main streets

Jan. 17 Ruth Elder from Troy University delivered a presentation on the Wade Hall Traveling Postcard Exhibit that has been at the Russellville Public Library throughout the month of January. This presentation focused on the postcards of main streets in Alabama.

Elder said Troy University received the vintage postcard collection from Wade Hall, who donated the nearly 25,000 postcards years ago. It was Hall’s own personal collection from his travels, and Elder said his most extensive collections were from Alabama, Kentucky and Florida, where he spent most of his time.

“This exhibit was created to be in connection with the bicentennial, but it will probably live beyond that,” Elder said.

The exhibit was made possible in part by a grant from the Alabama Humanities Foundation.

Elder and a team of people put together the exhibit with the purpose of helping people see the way things used to be.

“We want people to know where they came from. These postcards are a piece of history,” she said.

Elder and her team divided the state of Alabama into sections and chose locations from cities big and small to highlight so there would be an accurate representation of the state.

She likens the postcards to today’s social media platforms. They provide a snapshot of that particular place and time with a picture and words – but the difference, Elder said, is that the picture is always perfect, never changing.

“It was a great presentation. She presented good historical information and resources for people to use,” library director Ashley Cummins said.

The exhibit will be displayed at RPL until Feb. 8. The collection can also be seen on Troy University’s website at