Did you know that Iowa City historian Bob Hibbs was a penny postcard collector? Yup. I thought I had a pretty big collection of Iowa City-themed postcards. But then one day, I came across the Iowa City Postcard King – Bob Hibbs. According to one interview, when his classic book – Iowa City Postcard History – was released in 2010, Hibbs claimed his personal collection at the time was at 3,200 cards and counting! Not bad for an amateur historian who didn’t start collecting until the late 1980’s!
Bob was born in southwest Iowa and came to Iowa City in 1961 to get his degree in journalism. His first job after graduation was working as an assistant to the long-time Sports Editor for the Iowa City Press-Citizen – Al Grady. According to Bob – Grady was an All-American coach of the American language with a true gift for telling the story.
Bob eventually moved on to be a city editor at the Press-Citizen and then worked in Iowa City real estate for most of his career. After he retired in 1988, Bob returned to writing – taking all he had learned from Grady and became a great storyteller himself. Between 2002 and 2007, Bob published over 350 articles in the Press-Citizen – writing a weekly blurb on Iowa City history called Saturday Postcards. Bob obviously pulled many of his stories from his huge collection of penny postcards, and in 2010, Arcadia Books published a beautiful paperback that featured dozens of his postcards that pictured both familiar – and some not so familiar – sites around Johnson County. Today, it’s still a true Iowa City classic.
Sadly, Bob passed away in 2019, but not before he left us a treasure trove of books and articles that cover Iowa City history from its very earliest of days in 1839 – right up to today.
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