Welcome to the PostSecret Archive

This first set of postcards were posted shortly after the official start date of the PostSecret Blog; February 2005.

Assembling this group of secrets reminded me of how the project has developed over time and the special parts of PostSecret that have remained constant through the years. As you look over these and the later postcards in this special archive, I invite you to notice how the project has evolved, but stayed true.

Early on in the project I did not scan the cards. Instead, I placed them on the floor in my basement and took pictures of them. If you look carefully at some of the card backgrounds you can still see strips of Berber carpet.

Most of these postcards are made from the original cards I printed up and handed to strangers outside Metro stops on the streets of Washington DC in 2004.

You may have seen some of these postcards in the first PostSecret book. (Although you would not have seen the secret with the elephants. The publisher felt it should be kept out.)

Today I receive about 200 postcards everyday but in 2005 I did not receive nearly that many so on Sundays I was lucky if I could post ten new secrets.

These postcards in the second set were posted in late 2005. Even this early in the project, I was receiving a number of spiritual secrets.

I have a fourteen Year-old daughter and her favorite secret is in this group. It's the one about getting better at lying.

You may see postcards here that were included in the All-American Rejects music video – "Dirty Little Secret". The director for the video contacted me and asked if they could use actual secrets from PostSecret in the music video. I said yes but with two conditions: first, that they make a $2,000 donation to HopeLine 1(800)SUICIDE. And second, that they give me all the wooden billboards used in the video after they finished. They made the donation and I still have the 6-foot by 4-foot blow-ups. In fact, if you make a $2,000 donation to HopeLine, you can have one of the original billboards from the video.

"Dirty Little Secret" has been watched over 10 million times on YouTube. But what most people don't know is that three of the cards they show in the video were made by the band members. Can you guess which ones?

This is the most recent peek into the PostSecret Archive. All of the postcards in this set were considered for the new book: PostSecret Confessions on Life, Death and God. Some would have been included if the book had been extra long. Others were kept out by the publisher, for example, the Simpsons image and Disney image would have been nearly impossible to gain the rights to reproduce.

I really liked all the secrets here and wish I could have shared them all in the book but this is nearly as good.

I love the one describing the secret act of hiding poetry for strangers to find and the one postcard explaining, “elephant-ear pasta”.

One of the cards below I believe came from one of my friends. (Sorry it did not make it into the book.)

I have a soft spot in my heart for libraries and was disappointed that I could not include the one from the librarian. Her secret reads like it could be the first line in a wonderful novel . . . that might be written and available from her library someday.

It’s great to be able to include the front and back of the postcard that inspired the cover of the new book. This card had been used on the brochure for one of the traveling PostSecret Exhibits and I think it works just as well on the book cover to capture the mystery and attraction our secrets hold.

In this large final collection I have included secrets that have only been seen once in 2007 and another from 2008.

I hope one day to have every card I have ever received scanned and keyword indexed. With that database available online, you would be able to instantly search through hundreds of thousands of secrets using any keywords.

-----Email Message-----

Dear Frank, Today I went to the special archive of secrets as I pre-ordered the book about a month and a half ago. And there it was--my secret. My secret reads: It hurts to do jazz hands after I cut myself, but the show must go on. I sent you my secret several years ago shortly before coming to college. I am now a senior in college and a lot has changed. I am majoring in vocal music performance and specializing in opera rather than musical theatre, so no more jazz hands! But more importantly, I have stopped cutting and am on the road to stopping self injury totally. And even more importantly, I have used my experiences related to my secret to help the others who have the same secrets. Over the past three years, I have not only become increasingly more open about my experiences, I have also worked to raise awareness among college students about the stigmas related to self injury as well as organizing campus wide events in conjunction with campus counseling services in which people who suffer as self injurers can come and talk openly and give voice to their secrets related to SI. Looking at my life now and looking at my secret from the past, it seems like it is an image from someone else's lifetime. Someone else's story. But there it is... a reminder of how far I have come and the fact that even then, even in the darkness, I knew there was more... that the show would go on. And thankfully, it has. Thank you for including my secret in the special archive. It has created a moment of reflection in my night and it has filled me with total contentment with my current life.

I have truly enjoyed sharing some of my personal thoughts and feelings with you during this peek into the PostSecret treasure trove. I hope you had a chance, like me, to see some secrets that remind you why PostSecret is special and to make some of your own discoveries.

Thank you for buying the new PostSecret book for yourself or as a gift.

Because I believe that ads on the PostSecret website would cheapen the project, I have turned down every offer to post advertisements on www.PostSecret.com. That means that I am dependant on you to purchase books, attend PostSecret Events or tell your friends about PostSecret to keep it alive. I really appreciate your help ensuring that the project continues.

Even though we encouraged people to buy the book so that they could have access to this archive, we made it very simple to enter for people who had already bought the book or young people who were PostSecret fans but may not have been able to afford the book.

If you are viewing the bonus material but have not bought the new book, that’s cool. (I probably would have tried to do the same thing when I was young.) But please keep in mind that this book is $5.00 less than the last one and makes a great gift. So even if you can’t afford it now maybe you can buy it for a friend, ask for it for the Holidays or use a gift certificate to get it. Anyway, thanks for reading all the way down here and spreading the word about PostSecret.

I will end this collection where it started. The picture below was taken in November of 2004 at the Artomatic Exhibition in Washington DC, before the PostSecret blog was born.

> Back