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W. Bruce Fye Center For the History of Medicine: Mayo Clinic Postcards and Souvenirs

Mayo Clinic Postcards and Souvenirs


Postcards have been around since the latter half of the 19th century in various formats, including single postcards and sets. Many publishers took advantage of the number of travelers visiting Rochester to receive care at Mayo Clinic and sold postcards for these travelers to send home to friends and family. The W. Bruce Fye Center for the History of Medicine has over 700 postcards in their postcard collection.

Souvenir postcard books of Rochester, MN

Set of souvenir postcard books declaring Rochester “The Queen City” (1923), “The World Famed City” (circa 1945) and “World Famous Medical Center” (circa 1975).

Miniature souvenir postcard book

Miniature souvenir postcard book with photographs of many Rochester buildings, circa 1925.

Rochester Centennial souvenir

Rochester Centennial souvenir with the words “World Medical Center” and “Host to Millions” engraved, along with an image of the Plummer Building, 1954.

From the collection of Dr. Christopher Boes


May 14, 1951
[sent to Illinois]

Dear folks, Just to let you know I am OK. I came up here May 8 on bus. Some rough ride but made it OK. Everyone in C.R. is OK, as far as I know. I had 11 xrays and 10 tests today, more in next 2 days. Should know something soon, I hope. I have a sleeping room, 4 blocks from Clinic, which is right in the heart of town. Hundreds of people work at Clinic. Pop. of town about 40,000. Large old houses, but well kept. Hope all are well. Love, Flossie

Masonic Temple Building postcard

Early Mayo offices located in the Masonic Temple Building, circa 1900.


August 4, 1908
[sent to South Dakota]

I am now sitting in Chas Mayo’s office all alone. I was shown in but the doctor has not showed up and it is now 3 o’clock. 4 Doctors came and consulted together and examined me. Chas Mayo said that’s  -it- . This time all they would do was to give some medicine but he asked me to come back in 3 months if I did not improve. There was indications of an ulcer but not sufficient to warrant an operation.

Souvenir Plates

The Golden Age of American souvenir china ran from the 1890s to the 1930s. There are numerous souvenir plates and dishes in the W. Bruce Fye Center for the History of Medicine. The items on display date from the early 1900s to the late 1950s.

Souvenir plate

Souvenir plate with images of Saint Marys Hospital, the Mayo offices in the Masonic Temple Building, the Rochester Public Library, and the YMCA Building, circa 1910.

Souvenir dish

Souvenir dish with an image of the Mayo offices in the Masonic Temple Building, circa 1900.

Souvenir plate

Souvenir plate showing Saint Marys Hospital, n.d.


Saint Marys Hospital, circa 1910.


June 21, 1906
[sent to Iowa]

Dear Mrs. Kapp, All roads here lead to the hospital and we are anxiously waiting our turn. It is so full I cannot get a room and will have to wait until Fri or Saturday. I never saw such crowds as there are waiting to get in. It is so cold we are nearly frozen, gets colder every day and rains all the time. I am getting a taste of what it is to have nothing to do. Might close now with love, Clara

Porcelain cup

Porcelain cup with sketch of Saint Marys Hospital, n.d.

From the collection of Dr. Christopher Boes


March 8, 1910
[sent to Iowa]

Dear []. …now I am up again this morning and am feeling a little stronger than yesterday. Hope you have gotten some of the mail I have sent you. Hope you are all well and getting along fine. It’s a lovely day except they say it is cold. Our nurse is going to take me to see the chapel this P.M. here in the hospital and Dr. Beckman said I could go to the laboratory when I get to feeling better. They have not told me when I can leave the hospital yet. Hope to hear from you today. Love to all – Anna.


Saint Marys Chapel, n.d.

Pennant, bookmark, and button

Heart-shaped bookmark celebrating the 100th anniversary of Saint Marys Hospital (1989), Saint Marys VIP Button (n.d.), and Saint Mary’s School of Nursing pennant (n.d.). The Saint Mary’s School of Nursing began in 1906 and closed its doors in 1970.


July 21, 1918
[sent to Vancouver, Canada]

Dear Friend, Having a great time here. 30-40 operations daily at this hospital. Improving rapidly and ready for business soon about Aug. 1st, I think. Mrs. B. joins me in kind regards to you all, AJ

The 1914 Building, circa 1915

Souvenir dish and spoon

Sterling silver spoon with pierced handle depicting the 1914 Building (circa 1915) and porcelain candy dish with an image of the 1914 Building (circa 1920s).

From the Collection of Dr. Christopher Boes


January 3, 1924
[sent to Michigan]

Dear friend, Just a card to let you know that I am getting along with the examination pretty good. Got one today. Tomorrow got to go through quite a few. You certainly get looked over right. When they get through with you they will tell you what is wrong. Love to all, Edward


Photo postcard of workers who helped build the 1914 Building, circa 1913.

Mayo Clinic Souvenirs

As Mayo Clinic became more well-known, companies began profiting off the Clinic’s name and fame. Souvenirs of all types were sold, bearing the image and name of Mayo Clinic.

Souvenir frying pan

Souvenir frying pan, n.d.


Thermometer with an image of the Plummer building, circa 1928.

Souvenir plate

Souvenir plate showing the Kahler Hotel and the Plummer Building, circa 1928.


The Plummer Building on a winter night, n.d.


Paper weight (n.d.), money clip (n.d.), and tape measure (n.d.) depicting the Plummer Building.


Early depiction of the Plummer Building, circa 1926. Note that the carillon is missing. Plans to build the carillon atop the Plummer building came late in the design process.


[circa 1927]

This new Clinic building will be finished soon. It is next to the old Clinic. A patient asked what that building was & was told it was a new clinic. He said, “Gee, I’ll bet that makes the Mayos mad!”


[circa 1927]

This is the new Mayo Clinic not quite finished. They tell me the idea is if you go here for treatment that they start you at the top and bring you down from floor to floor with a bunch of Drs for each specialty on each floor. It’s a great game.


The Plummer Building, complete with carillon tower, circa 1939.


September 23, 1942
[sent to Indiana]

Dear Mrs. F, Brought Mother here last week-end. She is in terrible pain. For 3 days she’s been undergoing tests & she will probably be hospitalized today or tomorrow. The Drs. at home were SO wrong on their diagnosis. She has no tumor but a badly infected bladder. Mr. Allen so kindly gave me leave. Will write later and let you know how she is. –Ramona

Souvenir plate

Souvenir plate showing Saint Marys Hospital, the Kahler Hotel, the Mayo Building, the Plummer Building, the Mayo Memorial, and Rochester Methodist Hospital, circa 1955. Prior to its official naming in July of 1956, the Mayo Building was referred to as the Diagnostic Building.


Glass ashtray with an image of the Mayo Building, circa 1955.

From the collection of Dr. Christopher Boes


The Plummer Building and the ten-story Mayo Building, circa 1956.


The Plummer Building and the Mayo Building with the eight floor addition that was completed in 1970.


The new Rochester Methodist Hospital, circa 1965.


Crystal ornaments with images of Rochester Methodist Hospital (2003) and the Mayo Building (2004). A series of ornaments were made depicting different Mayo Clinic buildings and statues, each sold in different years.


Letter opener (1979), pendant (n.d.) and keychain (n.d.) depicting Rochester Methodist Hospital and its logo.

This exhibit was designed and curated by the staff of:

The W. Bruce Fye Center for the History of Medicine. All artifacts are from the Center unless otherwise stated.

To learn more about Mayo Clinic history, heritage and the history of medicine, visit:

  • Mayo Clinic Heritage Hall – Mathews Grand Lobby, Mayo Building street level


List of Current and Past Exhibits