In the days before cameras were cheap and readily available, postcards were one of the most popular ways to send a loved one a snapshot of a new area or a vacation spot. Warren was no exception and over the years, mostly during the first decade or two of the 20th century, hundreds of the humble cards were printed. Some went just a few towns over, and others traveled the globe.
A few of them eventually made it into the collection of the Massasoit Historical Association and next Monday, Nov. 4, the association’s John Chaney will show host “Warren by Postcard,” a program dedicated to them at the George Hail Library. It starts at 7 p.m, and it’s free.
“The drug stores in town carried them,” said Mr. Chaney. “It’s always interesting to read the backs.”
The association’s collection of postcards totals into the hundreds and ranges from street scenes to the Town Common to life on the water — the Kickemuit River, Warren River and the like. Even the waterworks, the forerunner of the Bristol County Water Authority, got a postcard.
Churches were big too, as was Warren Town Hall, businesses and the Masonic Temple. Another big subject of cards were special events, including the dedication of Massasoit’s Spring and a pageant held in Warren in 1914.
“There’s even one of a man with his chickens at his chicken coop,” Mr. Chaney said. “He was obviously proud of them.”
Looking at cards printed many years apart, one can get a sense of how Warren evolved over time. And they play an important role in the town’s history, recording old institutions, ways and organizations that otherwise might have been forgotten.
They also show the town’s beauty. One of Mr. Chaney’s favorites is a view of Main Street taken about a century ago.
“You have to admit (it) is pretty amazing,” he said, “showing the canopy of elm trees stretching as far as the eye can see from the library down.”