Friday, August 23, 2013

Sunbonnet Girl Postcards




Here is a real photo postcard of a real girl in a sunbonnet that is obviously based on the fictional Sunbonnet Girls that were popular in the early twentieth century. Bertha L. Corbett is the artist credited with creating the original Sunbonnet Girls. Her drawings were first used on postcards in 1904. They earlier had appeared in books in 1900. Corbett first drew the Sunbonnet Girls to prove that it was not necessary to show the face in order to make a figure expressive.

This photo does show the girl's face peeking out of the bottom front of the bonnet. There appear to be some curls hanging out the back too.




The website sunbonnetsue.com has a reprint of a 1907 article about the origins of Corbett's Sunbonnets: The "Mother" of the Sun-Bonnet Babies. Other artists also drew Sunbonnets that were published on postcards. Below is a postcard with a Sunbonnet Girl in a pose similar to the photo. This is by the artist Bernhardt Wall. It was published by Bergman and dated 1913. According to the book "Picture Postcards in the United States 1893-1918 by George and Dorothy Miller: "After the height of the postcard craze, Wall redesigned a group of Sunbonnets against white backgrounds for the Bergman Company in an effort to recapture the popularity of the earlier cards, but the later designs never caught the public imagination."




Coincidentally, this leather postcard featuring a Sunbonnet with "Just a line" is from Minneapolis where Corbett originally created the Sunbonnet characters. I have seen leather postcards with other designs of fishing Sunbonnet Girls with a "line" from other locations or names added. Some are completely handmade like this one. Others have lettering (and possibly designs) that are machine printed.


 



For More Vintage Images




19 comments:

  1. I put together a Suzy Subonnet quilt. The squares were made by my Grandmother. Pics and story on my blog. Love this history. Was terrified to wash the squares Mom gave me. Then researched the fabrics. It was sturdy grain sack applique on muslin. It was fine.Thanks, mary

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  2. Loved this blog - and it's on theme as well :)

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  3. cute bonnets but I'm glad I never had to wear one!

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  4. My mother made a sun bonnet sun/whatever the matching boy was quilt for my son. Somehow it got lost during a move. She died before she finished it and I was going to do it.

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    1. The boys are usually called Overall Boys or Overall Sam.

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  5. I hadn't heard of the Sunbonnet girls, nor have I ever seen a leather postcard. Did the card hold its shape?

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    1. The leather is usually quite soft and flexible.

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  6. A leather post card. That's a new one on me.

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  7. So happy to see the correct link, Postcardy!

    The bonnet in the top photo looks like a giant flower. These are great!

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  8. The sunbonnet girls are wonderful. I bet they'd sell well now.

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  9. This post brought back memories of the sunbonnet girl quilt that my grandmother made for me when I was a child. One of my favorite images. Thanks.

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  10. Where has she gone. Thanks for the entertaining history of Sunbonnets, and for the info about leather cards, which I find rather bizarre. How did they keep theor shape in the post, I wonder?

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  11. A curious figure that I would never have guessed was an iconic character. I suppose there are many others that were part of this era's imagery and are now forgotten.

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  12. Oh I do like her bonnet! What fun this was, such charming photos.

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  13. So that's whereSunbonnet Sue came from. Thirty years ago I made my duaghter a Sunbonnet Sue doll; I still have the pattern.

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  14. The sunbonnet girls are still cute today. Interesting history of the postcards.

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  15. I've never seen a leather post card. Wooden ones, but never leather. And you've now given me information I didn't know for the sunbonnet card I have. I'll have to read up on Corbett. Thanks for the lead!

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  16. I vaguely remember seeing such depictions before, most likely on the web.
    I'm not their target audience, but I must say I like that first shot,
    with the real girl.
    :)~
    HUGZ

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