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Charles Luksis photographic postcard collection

Call Number: MS 361


This collection consists of real photographic black and white postcards of Lithuanian towns, taken by Lithuanian cinematographer Charles Luksis (Kasys Lukšis). The collection predominately consists of images of street scenes and church exteriors in Lithuania in the 1920s and 1930s.


  • 1921 - 1935


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of Charles Luksis (Kasys Lukšis, 1892-1963)

Charles Luksis (Kasys Lukšis) emigrated from Lithuania to the United States in 1910. After studying electrical mechanics, he attended a U.S. Army training course for cinematographers and learned movie making. From 1921 until 1935 he spent summers in Lithuania, making documentary films about Lithuania and the life of its people. He returned to America during the winter months, showing his films to emigré Lithuanian communities in Chicago, New York City and Toronto. He must have produced the photographic postcards of Lithuanian towns in this collection during those decades.

Luksis established a film company in Lithuania and built a hotel and cinema in the town of Raseinai, living there from 1936 until 1939, when he decided to return to America. The outbreak of WWII caused him to travel across the Soviet Union (USSR) to Vladivostok and on to Yokohama, from which port he found passage as a seaman to San Francisco. He settled in Los Angeles, where he sold real estate. He was active in the American Lithuanian Council.


.75 Linear Feet (2 document cases containing 246 real photo postcards)

Scope and Contents

The photographer's labels--names of Lithuanian cities, towns, and villages--were handwritten on the negatives and thus appear in white on the photograph. These identifying place names have been transcribed and listed here, but spellings and accents on letters are inconsistent and sometimes hard to read. Transcription questions have been indicated by notes and question marks [?]. The transcribed place names have been checked against recent reference sources, and the current version of the place name has been added [in square brackets] when different from the name written on the photograph. A few place names could not be verified. Several photographs have illegible labels or lack labels. Those without labels or that are illegible are filed at the end of the collection. Some of the photographs were also signed on the negative by the photographer, Charles Luksis, using the initials C. L. or C. G. L. His initials are occasionally followed by his file number for the image. Many of the postcards are also stamped with his information on the side used for writing and addressing the postcards.

The collection predominately consists of street scenes or shots of church exteriors. There are also images of bridges, farms, bodies of water, individual residences, festivals, ruins of buildings, industry, train stations, etc. People and/or animals are sometimes present in the images, but they are rarely or never the focus of the images. Automobiles or horses and carts are occasionally present in the images as well. There are very few interior scenes, these are indicated in the finding aid when present. The photographer sometimes was more explicit in his titling about what the image was (i.e. labeling an image "Bažnyčia" or "Bazn." for church or "Pils" for castle); when this information is not included, Spencer Research Library staff have provided a brief description of the image.

Most locations have 1 or 2 postcards. There are some duplicates in the collection; these are noted throughout the finding aid when they occur.


The collection has been organized alphabetically by location name. In many instances there may only be one image per town.

Physical Location

MS 361

Other Finding Aids

The original order of the collection, denoted by the number in pencil on the back of the postcards, is available in a pdf:

Custodial History

Luksis' daughter kept this collection of photographic postcards of Lithuanian towns. Her stepson, Stephen Goddard (Associate Director/Senior Curator Emeritus, University of Kansas Spencer Museum of Art) donated the collection to Spencer Research Library’s Special Collections.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Stephen Goddard, 2019.



Guide to the Charles Luksis (Kasys Lukšis) Collection
Charles Luksis photographic postcard collection
Finding aid prepared by ksc, 2019 and mwh, 2020. Finding aid encoded by mwh, 2020.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Charles Luksis photographic postcard collection, MS 361, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States