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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
Marshall Cohen—researcher and producer, CNN

Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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REAL PHOTO POSTCARDS (RPPC). In 1903, photographers across America, began producing real photo postcards (RPPCs) at a frantic pace. Largely because of Kodak’s introduction of a folding pocket camera, the No. 3A, millions of RPPCs were created during the first three decades of the 20th century. According to Robert Bodgen, author of the Real Photo Postcard Guide, the postcard format dominated photography for the first thirty years of the 20th century. People took them, collected them, and shared them with each other.

According to the Old House Journal, local businessmen hired traveling photographers to "record area events and the homes of prominent citizens." Not only were events and people captured on RPPCs, but also important buildings, sites, parades, fires, and floods. Real estate agents used them to sell new houses. RPPCs expressed pride in home and community throughout America.

Washington Junior High
Wartburg Seminary
Dubuque Boat
Moore's Mill ruins
Ice Harbor with a log raft shown on the left.
Main Street looking south from Third Street (1910)
Aerial view of Mt. Carmel
Visitation Academy
Log raft near Dubuque