George Masa’s Mountain Postcards

masa card

Above is a postcard published by the Asheville Postcard Co., which was likely made from a photograph taken by George Masa.

The writers of NC Miscellany recently got a tip that Buncombe County Public Libraries has an online display of several of George Masa’s photographs paired with the postcards that were printed from them.  You can view the collection here.

One neat thing about the way they’ve displayed the postcard with the photograph is that you can see how postcard publishers often manipulated small details in the photograph.

Masa was born in Japan, and moved to the United States sometime around 1906 after his father died suddenly.  He traveled to several US cities before coming to Asheville in 1915 on a student tour group.  He remained in Asheville for the next 18 years of his life, employed in various capacities.  He photographed guests at the Grove Park Inn in the beginning, and later opened the Photo-Graft Shop (which would be come the Asheville Photo Service).  He loved being in the Smoky Mountains, and frequently photographed scenic views of the area.  He was an early advocate of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Appalachian Trail.  (adapted from Powell, William S.  Dictionary of North Carolina Biography.  University of North Carolina Press: Chapel Hill, 1991.)

Unfortunately, we have not been able to identify any of the postcards in our collection as the work of George Masa (except for possibly the one above). You can browse for items published by the Asheville Post Card Company, which published postcards from the photos of Masa and other photographers from the 1920s and on.