Nineteenth-century collecting card album

Biographical and Historical Notes

Many, if not all, of these collecting cards were part of sets produced by Louis Prang & Co. of Boston, Massachussetts. By the 1870s, it was possible to cheaply print full-color lithographs. Some cards were produced specifically for collectors, but many also served as advertising trade cards.

Trade cards were fiercely collected and stored in scrapbooks and albums like this one. Although these cards do not display any type of product advertisement, they are similar to contemporary trade cards highlighting leisure activities, places, and illustrations of wildlife.


“Trade Cards,” PBS, accessed April 24, 2018.

"Trade Cards: A Short History," Trade Cards, An Illustrated History, Highlights from the Waxman Collection. Cornell University Library, accessed April 24, 2018.

"Louis Prang, Father of the American Christmas Card." New-York Historical Society, accessed April 24, 2018.

Scope and Contents

This nineteenth-century album contains approximately 154 color illustrated collecting cards depicting various human-built or natural landscapes, places, activities, and wildlife.

The places include countries and regions in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. The natural landscapes, including mountains, beaches, lakes, and waterfalls are labeled by type or name, with no indication of geographical location. However, several come from the 1864 Louis Prang & Co. series, "Views of Central Park." The human activities include recreational sightseeing, sledding, and skating. Towards the back of the album, the wildlife cards depict algae, moss, butterflies and birds with scientific and/or common names.

The album has a blue cover and is held closed by two gold clasps. The word "Album" is embossed on the cover in gold. The thick paper pages have angled slits to keep the contents in place without adhesive and appear to be designed specifically to hold collectible cards of this style.