The North Carolina Collection at Pack Memorial Library has assembled a digital exhibit featuring the photographs of George Masa and the Asheville postcards that resulted from some of Masa’s most popular images.
The Asheville Post Card Company, first listed formally in the Asheville City Directory of 1921, was located between Broadway and Lexington Avenue at 31 Carolina Lane. The owner L.C. LeCompte created an extensive line of color postcards and postcard folders featuring scenes of Western North Carolina.
The postcards in this exhibit were all created from the photographs of George Masa. Masa came to the United States from Japan around 1906 and visited Asheville in 1915. He fell in love with the mountains and spent the rest of his life photographing their beauty. Masa and his friend Horace Kephart were enthusiastic advocates for the creation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and Masa’s photographs were instrumental in efforts to “sell” the idea of the park.
Some of these black and white prints show the “retouching” that was done to the original print to render the image suitable for a postcard. Daylight scenes became night, with a full moon added for effect. White azaleas were painted red, and the flag atop Mt. Mitchell’s tower was lowered and made to fly in the opposite direction. The mirror image of the photograph of Lake Lure was used for the postcard. However, despite modifications and garish colorization, the beauty of the original scenes shines through.
View this exhibit
You can also access the Library’s entire photograph collection by using the “Online Exhibit” link on the Library page. If you have any questions, email email@example.com.