(Postcards courtesy Michael H. Levine)

Déjà views

Historical postcards capture UChicago as it was and as it wanted to be seen.

The picture postcard is older than the University of Chicago, but its ascent began in this very neighborhood. Souvenir cards were sold in large numbers at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition on the Midway. The “golden age” of privately published postcards soon followed, when the cost of mailing them dropped from two cents to one. UChicago was well represented in their ranks.

At the Logan Center through January 3, more than 200 cards from the collection of longtime staffer Michael H. Levine appear in the exhibition Greetings from the Midway: A Postcard History of the University of Chicago. They span 12 decades, capturing football heroes, panoramas and bird’s-eye views, campus landmarks, and scenes of daily life. Flip them over and many reveal the more personal pen-and-ink historical records of a student’s routines or a tourist’s impressions—mailable glimpses of the life of the University from its infancy to today.