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Special Collections Online at UT

Alan S. Heilman Postcard Collection

Identifier: MS-3783

  • Staff Only

This collection consists of 28 photographic postcards assembled through application of botanical photographs taken by Heilman attached to thick cardstock of varying shape and sizes, with a message enscripted on the back of each. Ranging from 1980 to 2009, only postcards from the years 1997 and 2005 are missing. This friendly correspondence highlights Heilman's thirty years at the University of Tennessee as well as his activities during his retirement, and also includes the taxonomic title of each plant pictured. Addressed to Danuta (Nitecki), or "Dana," the correspondence occasionally extends beyond consistent wishes of a happy holiday to reflect the timeline of Dr. Heilman’s career at the University of Tennessee. Topics of conversation include research in the Smoky Mountains and beyond, the building of John C. Hodges Library in 1987, UT pay cuts, his anticipated retirement, and finally his enjoyment of leisurely photography during his retirement.


  • 1980-2009


The language of this collection is in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite and must be requested in advance. See for detailed information. Collections must be requested through a registered Special Collections research account.

Conditions Governing Use

The UT Libraries claims only physical ownership of most material in the collections. Persons wishing to broadcast or publish this material must assume all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any claimants on for detailed information. Collections must be requested through a registered Special Collections research account.


0.25 Linear Feet (1 quarter box)


Donated by Dr. Alan S. Heilman himself, this postcard collection documents thirty years of friendly correspondence between academic acquaintances. These botanical photographic postcards provide brief insight to his time as a professor at the University of Tennessee from 1980 to 1997, sampling his continued passion for botanical photography in his retirement through the year 2009.

Biographical/Historical Note

Born in 1927, Dr. Alan S. Heilman’s illustrious academic endeavors began when he completed his Bachelors and Masters of Science from University of Pittsburgh in 1949 and 1952, respectively. Following his procurement of a Ph.D. in Botany from The Ohio State University in 1960, Dr. Heilman began lecturing general Botany at the University of Tennessee and remained a tenured professor and director for 37 years until his retirement in 1997. In his retirement, Dr. Heilman continues to capture and share his botanical photography; for example, he gifted a digitized collection of 1,100 of his photographs to the University of Tennessee Library. Dr. Heilman’s commitment to scientific photography is demonstrated through both his academic career and his extensive body of work. Additionally, his impassioned dedication can also be viewed through this short collection of 28 photographic postcards over 30 years of friendly correspondence.

Danuta Nitecki earned master's degrees from both Drexel University and the University of Tennessee and also earned her Ph.D. in library and information sciences from the University of Maryland. She has worked in the libraries at UT as well as Yale, University of Maryland College Park, and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She currently serves as dean of libraries at Drexel and is a faculty member in their College of Computing and Informatics.


The postcards in this collection are arranged chronologically in two folders.

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA