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The images you see at historicopera.com are part of a private collection of opera postcards, stereo cards, trade cards, cartes de visite, cabinet cards, and sheet
music. There are very, very few modern photographic images in the collection.
The collection began with a single postcard of Geraldine Farrar found at a Kentucky postcard show back in 1979. The bulk of the postcard part of the collection
was purchased at postcard shows in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Kentucky and a single overseas visit to London and Paris. Since 1998
items were purchased through dealers sending me postcards for review (I would pick the ones I wanted and return the remaining) and those for sale on eBay.
Today the collection contains about 4,000 items.
Most of the information about the singers was obtained before the advent of the Internet. I spent many, many hours at the Lincoln Center Library for the
Performing Arts in NYC, back when the library had easy access to important opera and music reference books. When the library closed for renovation I began my
own personal collection of opera source material. I do my best to include the most accurate information but even the best sources cannot agree on birth (divas,
even back in the late 1800s, were not immune from an occasional lie about their ages!) and death dates. In many cases relatives of singers contact me to correct
dates, which I'll gladly do. I also consult census and ship passenger lists, but even the dates on those are only as accurate as the subject reported. Newspapers
are another great source of information.
Much of the earlier material collected was used for a book called, "Opera Postcards - A Look at Opera Through the Early Days of the Picture Postcard," copyright
1994. There are no more copies available for sale. However, I found that the Internet was a great way to share the images and material that I collected, so I
began the historicopera.com website. The website's original purpose remains the same today: to give a proper voice to the singers, well-known or not, whose
images were captured at the turn of the 19th century. In addition, I pay tribute to the beauty and history of the picture postcard and early photographic opera