Thursday, October 11, 2012

WWI Soldier Souvenir Postcard from France

This is a souvenir postcard sent from France by an American soldier to his sister in Holland, Iowa. It was written on September 30, 1918. Most of the message is readable, though some words, including the soldier's name, are obscured by markings.
Dear Sister
Will send you a card that I am coming along fine. the weather is damp & cold but we got a fair place at present. how is every thing out their hope fine wrote you a letter few days ago received one yesterday also one from M.(?) I think you be picking corn (?) when this card gets their.
Priv. Al...A.E.F.
The A.E.F. initials at the end of the message stand for American Expeditionary Forces, the United States Armed Forces sent to Europe in World War I. Soldiers Mail is written at top right on the postcard. The postmark over that is indistinct, but I can tell that it says Army Post Office and appears to be dated 8. 10 (October 10?) In the center of the postcard is a stamp that says EXAMINED by No. 26. AT the bottom left of the card is a BASE CENSOR stamp with an American Eagle in its center.

Soldiers Mail has changed a lot since WWI. I wonder whether any soldiers still send real postcards back home. The Missing You - Letters from Wartime video  by the National Postal Museum traces Soldiers Mail from the Civil War to the present.


  1. What a wonderful postcard. I thoroughly enjoyed your post today. It is great to see someone else loves postcards and the stories behind them, as much as I do!

    Have a lovely day!

  2. If an American soldier dates his letter 8.10, should that not be read as August 10? And indeed, old postcards are an inexhaustible source for stories, memories and investigations. In case you are interested, please see Caroline Pointer's 48-Hour Ephemera Challenge Forum
    Thanks for sharing your postcard, I enjoyed it!

  3. It is the postmark that is 8. 10, but the writing is dated Sept. 30, so I don't think the postmark could be August.

  4. This is a wonderful postcard! Thank you for sharing.

  5. Great postcard. And yeah, if the recipient was in Iowa, they were definitely going to be picking corn. The normal-everyday-nothing special content of such postcards is such a contrast to what we know about war from pictures and reports.

  6. An interesting ephemera that must have had value to someone to be saved for so long. Could the 8-10 be a postmark time?

  7. It the postmark is a French one it would be October.

    I think you have a farming family there, with the reference to corn. I've seen lots of French cards talking about the harvest - home must have been on their minds all the time.

    One young soldier told his father not to start the heavy work until he came home - in 1915.... They never believed that it could last so long.

    I get really involved with the cards I see from WW1

  8. What a poignant letter! Its simple language speaks volumes about the young lad who wrote it.


  9. Yes I enjoyed this post. Just recently found some postcards at my favorite thrift shop take in Fuji can't wait to use them.

  10. A very lovely postcard- stunning colors-and great story- Holland, Iowa how cool is that too!

  11. The flowery post card seems so feminine for soldiers but Iguess they were meant to be soothing for those at home.
    My family regrettably were "tosses" and threw out much of the communication from the wars. They are such treasures.

  12. I search the local flea market each week but have yet to come across any cards from WWI. Interesting to see the video and how communication has changed - the more rapid links of today don't make things any easier for the people involved.

  13. It's a lovely card and I'm sure his sister treasured it.

  14. Great postcard. It seems to me the date stamp wasn't stamped on hard enough and one side of it is very faint, possibly the date says '18 10' - Oct 1918.

  15. Wonderful postcard with a sweet message. I wonder if this soldier made it home or was one of the casualties of the war.

  16. Sad that this postcard was separated from its family. The National Postal Museum sounds interesting. Really enjoyed this.

  17. I like how he was thinking about what they would be doing back home when the postcard was due to arrive. He was clearly missing his family.

    It is interesting that the postcard itself said "Souvenir" across the the front ... clever marketing tool.


    Kathy M.

  18. i loved listening to the letters on the video. Wonder just how many of these men came back from the war.

  19. I watched the WHOLE video...
    No comments to make after this,
    thanx 4 sharing...
    It was a moving post.

  20. Wonderful old postcard and I love how he writes such mundane things, nothing about his war experience. As far as the date genealogists always date everything as 8 Oct 1918 and I believe people used to date things that way a long time ago. It is possible he shortened the Oct to 10 to save space.

    I too wonder if he made it home.


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