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Melissa Spore Postcard and Photograph Collection

Call Number



1917, 1970-2015, inclusive


Spore, Melissa


1.25 Linear Feet in one half manuscript box and one card box

Language of Materials

Materials are in English.


Educator and writer Melissa Spore (1948-2015) moved to Canada from the United States in the 1980s, and taught instructional design and co-authored the book, The Designer's Guide to Presenting Numbers, Figures, and Charts in 2013. The bulk of the collection is approximately 400 printed postcards, collected between 1970 and 2015, covering a range of topics, especially politically left-leaning ideology, but also includes reproductions of artworks and travel destinations. The collection also includes a group of collectible "Doom of Youth"-themed cards designed by John Stalin from the early 1980s. Original photographs most likely taken by Spore's former husband, Ken Brown, during the 1970s and 1980s are also in this collection. Photographic subjects include musician portraits, city street scenes, and political protests in New York and Toronto.

Biographical Note

Melissa Spore (1948-2015) grew up in the Northern Virginia suburbs. She attended Marlboro College in Vermont, and Columbia University. She moved to Canada in 1974, eventually teaching instructional design in both Toronto and Saskatoon through the 1980s and 1990s. In 2013, she co-authored The Designer's Guide to Presenting Numbers, Figures, and Charts with her sister, Sally Bigwood. She passed away in Saskatoon, May 2015.


This collection has not been arranged by an archivist. The materials are arranged in the order in which they were received from the donor.

Content Description

This collection contains approximately 400 postcards collected by Melissa Spore from 1970 to 2015. Spore's postcards cover a wide range of topics, the majority politically left-leaning ideology related to issues such as civil liberties, women's and workers' rights, Marxism, and nuclear testing or use protests. Some of the postcards are reproductions of political propaganda posters, political cartoons, museum artworks, animals, images of musicians and artists, and travel destinations. A small number of the cards are postmarked and contain messages to Spore, while the remainder are blank. The collection also includes exhibition announcements, invitations, and collectible "Doom of Youth"-themed cards designed by John Stalin from the early 1980s. This collection also contains original photographs most likely taken by her former husband, Ken Brown, including portraits of musicians Charles Mingus, Link Wray, Jimi Hendrix, Screaming Jay Hawkins during the 1970s and 1980s. Images of political protests and everyday streets scenes in New York City and Toronto during the 1970s and 1980s are also included in this collection.

Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers. Appointments are necessary for the use of manuscript and archival collections.

Conditions Governing Use

NYU's Fales Library & Special Collections is not the copyright owner for this collection. Collection use is subject to all copyright laws. Researchers wishing to reproduce collection material should contact rights holders for permission.

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date; Melissa Spore Postcard and Photograph Collection; MSS 487; box number; folder number; Fales Library and Special Collections, New York University.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Spore's brother, Stuart Spore, in September 2016. The accession number associated with this gift is 2017.032.

Collection processed by

Stacey Flatt

About this Guide

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2023-08-20 17:03:04 -0400.
Using Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language: Finding aid written in English

Processing Information

At the time of accessioning materials were rehoused in acid-free folders, envelopes, and boxes, and described on the collection-level with a box-level inventory. No other arrangement, description, or physical interventions have taken place for this collection.


Fales Library and Special Collections
Fales Library and Special Collections
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
2nd Floor
New York, NY 10012