The Chicopee Herald

May 9, 2001

[Unfortunately, The Chicopee Herald doesn't archive its issues on the web, so I transcribed it.]


Page 8: NEW BOOK details college's history through postcards

New book tells Mount Holyoke's history through postcards

By Josh Shear

Staff Writer

SOUTH HADLEY - Mount Holyoke College alumna Donna Albino came across an old postcard of her alma mater in 1985, and her interest was grabbed. It was one that a student had sent to a relative or friend, and Albino was curious to know who the student was.

Five years later, Albino made a discovery at a flea market: someone with a table there had 28 postcards, most of which had been written out. From there, she gained some contacts and started collecting the postcards - lots of them.

She especially liked the ones that had been inscribed and sent, and did research at the school's archives to find out who the student authors were - and was often able to also determine the addressees of the postcards.

In 1996, with her collection approaching 1,100, Albino began putting the postcards on the Internet, beginning with 100 of them.

As her website grew, she said she realized that it might be difficult for people to search through all the cards online, and so began putting a book together.

"Postcard History Series: Mount Holyoke College," published this year by Arcadia, is a collection of 215 postcards from throughout the 20th century, that chronicle both college life and the changing face of the college.

The book is divided into chapters based on what was going on in the college lives of the people who wrote the cards, and all the cards are accompanied by their inscriptions.

Thumbing through the book, one sees the evolution of the college's structure. What is today the Blanchard Campus Center, was the gymnasium until about 1950. An outdoor cafe area, with two sets of stairs and a handicap access ramp, has been added to the front of the building.

The tower on the campus's library was erected in 1935, so the cards before that date show the library without the tower. Where there was empty space between the library and Dwight Hall, a science library has been built, which does not appear in any of the postcards.

Changes to dormitory buildings such as Wilder and Mead are also evident, and the obvious addition of parking spots in front of the buildings is clear.

Another facet of change is trees - many have come and gone since the photos on the postcards were taken. Where there is currently a small shrub-like tree on the College Street side of Dwight, there was once a towering tree that reached to the top of the building's parapet.

Where there was once a clear photographic opportunity of the former gymnasium, trees now stand on the green in front of Blanchard.

For more information, visit either of Albino's websites at or


These vintage postcards not only show how Mount Holyoke has changed,
but also record the stories of the women who attended the college.