Pictou County Postcards
Vintage Postcards from Pictou County, Nova Scotia


I began working on the Pictou County Postcard Collection, in 2003, in an effort to restore a specialized collection that my parents once had. Their collection focused on the postcards that were published and sold by the Torry family of New Glasgow, primarily through Torry's Book Store in New Glasgow, from the early 1900s to the early 1940s. There is still a strong focus on the Torry family (they are my maternal ancestors and relatives), but the collection has grown dramatically to about 800 vintage postcards from all over Pictou County.
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I don't really know when my parents began the postcard collection. I do know that by the mid 70s they had acquired at least 87 Torry published cards, which was no small feat, considering that the internet and Ebay did not even exist!

In the early 1970s we moved to Sussex, NB, when my dad took a job teaching at the high school. My parents purchased the huge, 24 room Victorian house shown at the left and for a short period rented out the right hand half of the house to some tenants who failed to pay their rent. My dad very quickly realized that he did not like the teaching job, so ultimately, he and my mother decided to follow their creative instincts in an effort to make a living that was more enjoyable.
My dad started painting seriously and my mum was weaving, knitting, and making gorgeous smocked dresses and other hand crafted items for sale, as well re-caning antique chairs. When the delinquent tenant moved out, my parents opened a gallery and an antiques and craft shop in "the other side" of the house. They also operated a small printing business, a mail order antiquarian book business and even a courier service when Canada Post went on strike!

I spent a fair amount of time hanging out in my dad's studio on the third floor of the house, watching him paint and work and I would often help out with whatever was going on. Once in a while, he & my mum would get out the collection of postcards, which also included the glass photo negatives, Torry family ephemera, items from Torry's Book & Toy Store, and the cameras that the Torry family used. I was fascinated but was not allowed to touch anything. My dad also had a beautiful collection of tartan postcards, something I thought was long gone, but he still has it!
The Torry postcard collection was inadvertently sold at auction when my mother passed away in 1995. Fortunately, in the midst of all the confusion, my dad, was able to find and put safely away, the photo negatives, some of the ephemera, his own copy of the manuscript that he had written in 1968, for a book titled "Torry's Book Store, New Glasgow, NS", and his original manuscript for "A Walking Tour of Edwardian New Glasgow" (written in the mid 70s), along with some pamphlets that he had produced about the Torry postcards. These items are now in my collection and in my sister Cathryn's collection. There were only 5 copies of "Torry's Book Store" ever made and to the best of my knowledge, neither book ever made it to print.

The "Torry's Book Store" cover photo (shown at the right) was taken by W. H. Waldren and the original glass negative is likely in the Waldren Studio collection at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. My father's two books serve as my primary references for the Pictou County Postcards collection and his exceptional memory is an invaluable resource.
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