Shared from the 9/28/2021 Hot Springs Sentinel Record  eEdition

‘History in postcards’

Program looks at importance of ‘mailed cards’ in Spa’s past


Submitted photo

■ The iconic “We Bathe the World” slogan was included on many Hot Springs postcards. Photo is courtesy of the Garland County Historical Society.


Submitted photo

■ Disasters, like the flood of May 15, 1923, were sometimes featured on postcards. Photo is courtesy of the Garland County Historical Society.

For generations, tens of thousands of postcards depicting everything from street scenes, to scenic views, to the comical, have been mailed across the world from Hot Springs, and now a native historian is going to share his collection with the public.

The Garland County Historical Society will present “Hot Springs: A History in Postcards,” a program by Ron Fuller, at its virtual meeting at noon today.

The public can participate by using the links on Facebook at or YouTube at http:/

“Fuller will share some of his collection of over 1,000 postcards of Hot Springs, including ones made in the 1880s. He will also show a video of postcards that show some of the unique places in Hot Springs that are now lost to history,” the Historical Society said in a news release.

“For generations, as people flocked to Hot Springs by the tens of thousands, postcard sellers made a killing providing everything from views of the mountains and springs to street scenes to comical photos made at Happy Hollow Amusement Park on Fountain Street,” the release said.

Ray Hanley, “one of Arkansas’ premier postcard collectors, says Hot Springs was probably one of the most photographed cities in the nation for years,” it said.

Fuller will look back at the unique history of American postcards and their early development.

“Once known as ‘mailed cards,’ their development beginning in the mid-1800s took some interesting twists and turns along the way. The real popularity of postcards began to bloom in the late 1880s and reached their peak usage in the 1960s through the late 1980s.

“From the 1930s through their demise as a means of communication and greetings, travelers by the millions sent home photo cards of their travels,” the release said.

“’We are having a great time and wish you were here’ became the watchword of any vacation,” it said. With the rise of e-cards during the “explosive growth of the internet in the 1990s, the popularity of sending a stamped picture or greeting from a distant state or foreign country rapidly faded. Postcards are still available today and on occasion even sent by mail. However, most cards today are simply purchased as souvenirs of a trip.”

Fuller is a 1966 graduate of Hot Springs High School and a 1970 graduate of Henderson State College. He is a former U.S. Army officer, a three-term member of the Arkansas House of Representatives, and owns a public relations and lobbying firm in Little Rock.

Fuller has written for numerous historical publications, including the Historical Society’s The Record, and has had several articles featured in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and AY Magazine. He is active in numerous central Arkansas civic organizations and serves as the chairman of the Arkansas MacArthur Military Museum Heritage Board. In 2018, he was appointed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson to serve as a member of the board of the Arkansas State Archives, according to a biography provided by the Historical Society.

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