The World in Pocket-size Format

The World in Pocket-size Format

The Adolf Feller Postcard Collection

This beautifully illustrated book documents the exceptional postcard collection of Swiss entrepreneur Adolf Feller, started in 1899, which includes 54,000 postcards from 140 countries.



Title Information

Monika Burri. Edited by Michael Gasser and Nicole Graf

1st edition

, 2011


136 pages, 206 color illustrations

20 x 26 cm

ISBN 978-3-85881-339-8

Pictorial Worlds: Photographs from the Image Archive, ETH-Bibliothek. Vol.1


The Image Archive of the main library at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH)—the ETH-Bibliothek—is home to a vast collection of photographs dating from the early days of photography well into the twentieth century. The archive includes pictures created and collected by institutes and staff within the ETH, but also the entire archives of companies or other institutions.

The World in Pocket-Size Format, the first volume in a new series featuring treasures from the Image Archive, documents the exceptional postcard collection of Adolf Feller (1879–1931). In 1889 Feller, a Swiss entrepreneur, began collecting postcards on various business trips as mementos of his travels. When news of his hobby reached his friends and relatives, others began sending picture postcards as well. After his death, Feller’s daughter, Elisabeth, continued to seek out postcards from around the world. The collection now includes 54,000 postcards from 140 countries, with especially impressive examples from 1893–1930, the height of the picture postcard’s popularity. A wonderful testament to one man’s obsession, The World in Pocket-Size Format provides a new way to experience the history of the postcard as a means of both artistic expression and communication.


Nominated for the German Photobookprize 2013.


Designed by Hi – Visuelle Gestaltung.


Also available in the series Pictorial Worlds: Photographs from the Image Archive, ETH-Bibliothek:

Swissair Souvenirs

Science in Sight

Swissair Aerial Photography

Photo Mosaic Switzerland

Walter Mittelholzer Revisited

Authors & Editors

Monika Burri

 (*1970) is a research archivist at the state archives of the Swiss canton Aargau. She has studied general and Swiss history and philiosophy at the University of Zürich and also works as a free-lance cultural publicist.

Michael Gasser

 is head of the archives at ETH-Bibliothek in Zürich.

Nicole Graf

 is head of the Image Archive, ETH-Bibliothek in Zürich.