Iowa Alumni Magazine | December 2004 | People

Quite a Card: James Lynn

By Mary Fishburn

At his day job, James Lynn is a university professor and administrator. But at home and at heart, he’s a practicing deltiologist.

This unique and curious title doesn’t require an extensive education or years of experience—just the love of postcards.

Lynn became hooked on collecting postcards—in his case, antique UI cards—after acquiring an image of Old Capitol three years ago. “I started looking for postcards with interesting pictures of Old Cap because I wanted to frame them for gifts,” says Lynn, 67BS, 69MA, 75PhD, a professor of audiology and an associate dean at the University of Akron in Ohio. “Then, I just got carried away.”

His UI collection now encompasses close to 200 cards, featuring various scenes of Old Capitol, pictures from the original university hospital buildings, sketches of Kinnick Stadium, and other familiar campus landmarks. Lynn also has smaller collections highlighting the University of Akron, the Little Brown Church in the Vale, and his hometown of Boone, Iowa.

But Lynn’s UI postcards represent more than just treasured memories of time well spent in Iowa City—they also remind him of people at the university who helped him along the way. “For a kid coming from poverty in rural Iowa, the university sure helped me open some important doors,” says Lynn, who also maintains his UI connections as a member of the Northeast Ohio Iowa Club.

Thriving on the anticipation of finding a rare piece, Lynn continues to acquire vintage postcards and hopes one day to give his collection to the UI Archives. But, for now, he’s satisfied with displaying his cards on his local Iowa Club’s website. “There aren’t many people interested in postcard collections,” Lynn says, “so I’m always eager to share.”