Marriott Library receives historic donation

Posted at 11:33 PM, Jul 28, 2012
and last updated 2012-07-29 01:33:46-04

SALT LAKE CITY - The Marriott Library at the University of Utah received a $136,000 donation earlier this year, but instead of cash, the anonymous patron donated a large collection of historic photochrom prints.

In January, an individual who owns the collection of more than 750 postcards and prints, asked about housing them in the multimedia archives at the university.

"The first thing I thought was, 'Is this really true?' Well the first thing I thought was they must want to sell these and then when I found out they were willing to donate them, it was just like wow," said Roy Webb, multimedia archivist at the University of Utah.

Photochroms were first developed in the 1880s at a Swiss printing firm. In 1898, Congress passed a law allowing private publishers to produce postcards that could be mailed for one cent, and photochroms gained instant popularity.

"It's a lithograph; that's what they use to make the final print, and then it's coated with a varnish to give it depth and to preserve it," said Webb.

The collection includes architectural elements, panoramas, landscapes and landmarks, including Yosemite National Park.