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The deltiologist: Off the clock with Periklis Andritsos

Periklis Andritsos

Assistant Professor Periklis Andritsos,
Faculty of Information


Periklis has been with the University of Toronto (U of T) since 2012.


“My research focuses on the analysis of large repositories and, more specifically, the structure discovery in order to facilitate design and speed up querying.”

What do you do off the clock?

I collect very old postcards.

About five years ago, I started developing my interest in postcards from the late 1800s and early 1900s, encompassing various types and themes.

I prefer to add [real photo postcards] to my collection, which are pictures taken using old cameras and printed on postcard backs. It is pretty fascinating to imagine the whole process of making old postcards when, today, everything is happening digitally with just the click of a button.

In terms of themes, I have a wide spectrum of interests: Eastern Europe, Mediterranean landscapes (after all, I come from Greece and have lived in Italy for some years), military, trains, and old hotels and motels.

The peak of my collection has reached approximately 4,000 postcards.

How did you first become interested in collecting photographic postcards?

In the fall of 2008, I received a pack of early Eastern European (Lithuanian) postcards as a gift. They were mostly postcards of buildings and monuments and landmarks.

After researching, I realized that many of these did not exist anymore but they were able to convey invaluable pictorial stories. At the same time, the real photo postcards offer the unique perspective of the photographer on his subjects as many of them were not being printed in large numbers.

What (or who) inspires or influences your work?

Coming from Greece, a place with a rich history, I am always curious to learn about the world. The busy schedule in my life as an academic does not leave a lot of space for reading historical books. Therefore, I get inspired by the unknown, by the curiosity of what I see on the postcards I have in my hands — that it may hold a wealth of fascinating information.

At the same time, I do feel respect for the photographers and postcard makers of a completely different era and the work they have done to demonstrate life, as we don’t see the same architectural styles, sceneries, or events nowadays.

Submitted by Kathleen O’Brien, communications and development officer at the Faculty of Information.