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Estee Lauder Philanthropist Donates Rare Postcards to Lake County Museum

Leonard A. Lauder donates $260,000 Tuck Postcard Collection to the Teich Archives.

This information was provied by a press release from the Lake County Discovery Museum.

Leonard A. Lauder, Chairman Emeritus of The Estée Lauder Companies, Inc. has donated more than 35,500 Raphael Tuck & Sons Oilette postcards to the Lake County Discovery Museum’s Curt Teich Postcard Archives. The donation, valued at about $260,000, includes funding for the storage, preservation, cataloging, and digitization of the postcards. 

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The Teich Archives is a world renowned collection of postcards and materials relating to their production dating from the 1890s to the present. The Teich Archives is used daily by researchers for a variety of projects including restoration of historical buildings and landscaping, scholarly papers, genealogy, elementary and high school history fairs, and as illustrations in textbooks, advertisements, magazines, and newspapers.

“Mr. Lauder’s generous gift significantly enhances the holdings of the Curt Teich Postcard Archives. His desire to also support cataloging and digitizing the Tuck postcards will allow full public access to this rare collection,” said Ann Maine, President of the Lake County Forest Preserves. “It will be exciting to put the collection on exhibition when the museum moves to its new home in Libertyville.” 

About the Collection
Raphael Tuck & Sons began operating in England in 1866, and the company started printing picture postcards in 1894. The Oilette series of postcards, introduced in 1903, were the work of many different artists employed by the company and encompassed a great variety of subject matter. In their catalogs, Tuck described Oilettes as “veritable miniature oil paintings.”

Leonard A. Lauder, a well-known philanthropist and businessman, began collecting postcards at the age of eight. His first purchase was a postcard of the Empire State Building, which he followed by amassing a collection of Art Deco postcards acquired from hotel lobbies in Miami Beach, Florida. As trustee and Chairman Emeritus of the Whitney Museum of American Art, Lauder is aware of the need for preserving works of art in any format. 

The Tuck Oilette postcard collection is part of a larger collection amassed by Lauder over nearly 50 years of collecting. The donation of Oilettes to the Teich Archives enhances its holdings by providing access to another genre of postcard history.

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