Friday, January 31, 2014

Pour Moi?

This postcard fits in a topic that I have especially enjoyed collecting in the last few years, what I call "Writing Reminders." It is labeled Victoria Series and is printed and published in England.

To me, this postcard looks like it is about 50 years older than the 1959 date stamp on the back would indicate. I am wondering whether another collector has information that could date this card. I often have trouble dating English postcards, because they are so different from American postcards. Also, sometimes there are date stamps on postcards that relate to a date in a collection rather than the date of original publication.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Travel Ambitions

This advertising postcard was used by Security Trust Company of Lexington, Kentucky in May 1910. Monthly calendar advertising postcards were fairly common from about 1909 to 1914. They were used mainly by banks and home furnishing companies. The calendar was sometimes on the front, and sometimes on the back of the card. This design was probably used by other banks as well.

The advertising message was in the form of a letter from a bank officer dated May 1st:
Dear Friend
   The greatest unsatisfied ambition of  the World is to travel. Without money travel is a locked door. Systematic saving will soon provide you with the funds to unlock the door.
   Travel is knowledge and knowledge is power. A little saved every week soon grows into a surplus large enough to enable you to visit the places so often described in song and story.
   Let us be your depository while creating this travel fund. Your money will accumulate at compound interest.
   Start the account today.
The bottom right side of the card indicates that it is "COPY'T '09 CHAMPION & PUTNAM CHI" (Chicago). The Catalog of Copyright Entries, 1910 Engravings, Prints Etc. Fine Arts has this entry:
Nos. 1-12. [Advertising cards.] ©
Dec. 15, 1909 ; 2 c. each Dec. 17, 1909 ;
K 4990-5001.
The back has an engraving of the Security Trust Building, and someone has found space to write a personal note.

Here is an enlarged view of the Security Trust Company building from the back of the postcard:

The Security Trust Building at 269-275 West Short Street in downtown Lexington, Kentucky was the home of the Security Trust & Safety Vault Company. The following information about the building is from UrbanUp:
Construction on the Beaux-Arts Baroque-styled tower began in 1904 by the Hendricks Bros. Company in an unusual manner. A five story section of the building was erected at the corner of Short and Mill streets, and when the western wing was completed, the bank relocated from the Rowe-designed building into the partially finished tower. The old bank building was then demolished and replaced with the eastern wing of the building, and then an additional three stories were added to the top of both wings. The entire building was finished in 1905 and was Lexington’s tallest structure. Interior features included prismatic glass blocks in the sidewalk to partially light the basement, white enameled brick in the interior lightwell to reflect light into the center of the tower and the flexibility of office space on the upper floors.

Here is a Google view of the building from May 2012. I was unable to determine the current status of the building. UrbanUp reported that a restoration proposal was denied in 2010 due to inappropriate materials in the proposal.

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Friday, January 24, 2014


Today we are having a temporary reprieve from the extreme cold we have had for most of January. More extreme temperatures are expected by next Monday, however. 

The postcard above has a wind chill factor chart showing how cold the temperature feels at various combinations of actual temperature and wind speed. The National Weather Service has more information about wind chill along with a downloadable chart and brochure here.

The next postcard probably needs some explanation for those not familiar with cold weather. It is kind of a joke that a tongue will freeze and stick to a metal post when the temperature is below zero, but it can actually happen. At "forty below it just doesn't matter" whether the temperature scale is Fahrenheit or Celsius because at that point both are the same number. For conversions between Fahrenheit and Celsius at other points, see the chart here.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Saint Paul Outdoor Sports Carnival

This postcard advertises the 1917 Saint Paul Outdoor Sports Carnival. Winter carnivals were held in St. Paul from 1886 through 1889, in 1896, and again in 1899. After that, they stopped until 1916 and 1917 when winter carnivals were revived by carnival chairman Louis W. Hill, son of the Empire Builder James J. Hill (source: He built an empire of his own).

The slogan for 1916 was "Make It a Hot One," and the slogan for 1917 was '"Make It a Hotter One."  The 1917 carnival included a national ski tournament with a cross country run and jumping contests.Other events included world's championship speed-skating races, fancy skating exhibitions, hockey games, a curling playoff, horse races, and motor-sled races. A featured event  was a dog-sled race from Winnipeg to St. Paul — a distance of over 500 miles.

Ragnar Omtvedt of Chicago won the national ski tournament held at St Paul Minn Jan 29-30, 1917 after a close contest with Henry Ball of Steamboat Springs, Col . Omtvedt made jumps of 112 and 115 feet, while Hall jumped 113 and 114 feet, but the former was awarded the title for the better form of his leaps. The following article is from The Chicago Daily News Almanac and Year Book for 1918..., Volume 34

The Saint Paul Winter Carnival is still a popular local event. The dates for 2014 are January 23 to February 2.

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Friday, January 17, 2014

The Pink of Perfection

This postcard is "The Pink of Perfection" (highest perfection) for me. I like collecting "postcards about postcards," postcards about correspondence (e.g. "why don't you write?), and cards about postal (e.g. mail and postage stamps) subjects.

What really impressed me about this postcard is that the image of the postcard on the picture side matches the style of the postcard back. "The Pink of Perfection" was a trademark of the Fairman Co. of Cincinnati and New York.  

The word pink has a double meaning here. The flower pictured is the pink. I was surprised to learn that the color pink name came from the flower, and not vice versa:
The evolution of the word "pink" is interesting in its own right. Plants of Colonial Days (1959) states that pinks derived their name from pinksten or pfingsten, the German name for flowers that bloomed at Pentecost, or Whitsuntide. Other sources say that the word pink comes from the "pinked" or jagged edge of the petals, as though cut by pinking shears. In either case, it appears the idea of "pink" as a color did not occur until much later, for the color was named for the flowers rather than the other way around. In the eighteenth century, flowers were described as blush, pale red, rose, light red, flesh-colored, or carnation -- never pink. (source)

 The postcard was sent to Martha Umbach, Benedict, N. Dak in 1914. Although I am not a genealogist, I couldn't resist searching for the recipient of the postcard. In the 1910 census, I found that there was a Martha S. Umbach (aged 13) living in Andrews township (which includes Benedict), McLean County, North Dakota. (source)

I am intrigued by the message on the back of the card: "We are thrashing now. My photos are not through yet. Will be through Sunday." I believe the writer is referring to threshing grain. Wheat was a top agricultural product of North Dakota, and possibly the photos are of the threshing operation--something I speculated about in a post last week here. This is an example of North Dakota threshing photos from the Library of Congress:

Thursday, January 16, 2014

WWI Views of U. S. Army







The twelve views above of the U. S. Army are from a folder postcard that is missing its cover. The folder was probably published by Curt Teich. ( I saw some identical views on individual postcards published by Curt Teich online, but could not find an example of the complete folder.) 

If  the Army views views can be considered "before" images of the horrors of war, the cartoon postcard below can be considered an "after" image. It has a cartoon by Clare Briggs, an early American comic strip artist.  One of his popular comic strips was “Ain't It a Grand and Glorious Feelin'?”. The postcard was provided by the Knights of Columbus Committee on War Activities. It was written by a returning soldier, Pvt. Ed A Warner, to his mother in Minneapolis on May 28, 1919. He wrote "In America at last and feeling fine. Will be home toot sweet."

The postcard was sent via "Soldiers Mail" and postmarked in Newport News, Virginia on June 5, 1919. According to the information on the card, Pvt. Warner had arrived on the U. S. S. Aeolus and was going to Camp Dodge. He was a member of Co. G, Reg. 350th, Div. 88.

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

January 1914 Calendar

This postcard advertises a folding couch bed that you could have bought for your home 100 years ago. It is fun looking back and seeing what was once new, and is now "antique." The advertiser was John A. Roberts & Co., "Uticas's Greatest Store."

The back of this postcard is undivided, with a very attractive border design. Although divided back postcards had been allowed since 1907, there would have been no need for a message area on the back of this card.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

350 Years of Royal Mail Public Postal Service

Datapost Motorcyclist, City of London, 17p
Rural Postbus, 22p
Parcel Delivery in Winter, 31p
Town Letter Delivery , 34p
Here I have a set of four maximum cards with stamps commemorating 350 years of Royal Mail Service. The stamps were issued on July 30, 1985. Each card has a different cancellation dated July 30, 1985, the first day of issue.

I recently bought these, and I thought the envelope they were mailed in was worth showing too. It has an assortment of definitive stamps, a Post & Go stamp: River Life from Freshwater Life 3 issued in 2013, and a stamp that appears to show a police telephone box. The police box stamp is actually from the set Classic TV - 50 Years of Doctor Who, also issued in 2013. this was described as follows:
The TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension in Space) is the Doctor’s ship, capable of travelling anywhere in space and time. A product of Time Lord technology, the interior of the ship is much larger than its exterior. The Doctor’s TARDIS is an unreliable, obsolete TT Type 40, Mark 3 TARDIS with a faulty chameleon circuit, stuck in the shape of a mid-twentieth century police telephone box.

The definitive stamps have slits that I hadn't seen before. These can be seen on the enlargement below. The slits are a tamper-proof feature designed to prevent people from peeling off old stamps and re-using them.

This is a post for Sunday Stamps at Viridian's Postcard Blog

Friday, January 10, 2014

Ghirardelli's Cocoa

This postcard advertises Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco. Ghirardelli Square is considered the first successful adaptive reuse project in the country. It  has a history that spans more than a century. It is now a specialty retail and dining complex, housing shops and restaurants and is located at the same site where the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company, established by Domenico “Domingo” Ghirardelli, moved in 1893.

The postcard was sent via Air Mail to "Beth" from "Daddy" in 1967. I wonder whether any kids are still receiving postcards from their Daddys--or anyone. One thing is for sure, the postcards wouldn't be sent via Air Mail:
Air Mail as a distinct service was effectively ended within the United States on October 10, 1975, however, when all domestic intercity First Class mails began to be transported by air whenever practical and/or expeditious at the normal First Class rate. Domestic Air Mail as a separate class of service (and its rate structure) was formally eliminated by the successor to the Post Office Department, the United States Postal Service (USPS) on May 1, 1977. (source: Wikipedia)
The stamp on this postcard is the 6¢ red Eagle stamp issued on July 12, 1963. Today happens to be "Save the Eagles Day" as well as "National Bittersweet Chocolate Day."

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Photos, Post Cards, Etcetera

I was mainly motivated to buy this real photo postcard by the "POST CARD" box on the lower right side of the image. However, there is a wealth of other details in the image to enjoy and speculate about. Most likely, this young lady was intending to show off her living quarters and possessions to friends or relatives who did not live nearby. She appears to be both a postcard collector and a doll lover.

Starting at the top, there is a Fremont pennant. Several states have towns named Fremont, but South Dakota does not. The closest is Fremont, Nebraska. The pennant looks like an old college pennant to me, and there was a Fremont College & Business Institute in Fremont, Nebraska until 1919 (source: )

I couldn't find anything resembling the two parasols hanging upside down from the curtain rod. They look too small to be functional, so most likely are just decorative. They could be souvenirs or something intended for home decor. The clock on the table reads 9:40. This would have to be morning, because the lighting is pretty good. The dress and shoes suggest that the weather is warm.

In the detail below, there is a better view of the things the lady is holding and the desk behind her. She is holding a couple of photos in her right hand and a long narrow "mystery" item in the left. I can see folds in the item, but can't tell whether it is paper or fabric. The desk holds an assortment of books and papers (and possibly more photos). Behind the desk is a panoramic photo.

Here is a closeup of the photos in the lady's hand. There are two figures in the top photo, but it is not clear where they are or what they are doing. I am guessing they could be farmers standing on top of a hay wagon.

Here is a closeup of the panorama. I started speculating a couple of days after my original post that the panorama could be a threshing harvest scene. The image isn't clear enough to tell, but I am showing some known threshing scenes that I found online for comparison.


The back of the card indicates that it is from Cora in South Dakota, 1918. I can't decipher the middle word, nor can I tell whether it is part of her name or a location. Above that, there is some pencil writing that has been erased. It  appears to say: To Mary Ella and her mother. Perhaps Cora decided not to send this card.

The words at the top of the card have been added for the benefit of postcard collectors. "DELTIOLOGY" is the study and collection of postcards. "Trimmed" indicates that the card has been trimmed--not a good thing to do to postcards!

Addendum: Soon after I published this post, I received a comment with the following information:
The woman is Cora Mable Wince born 04 Feb 1890 in Iowa City, Wright, Iowa, USA. Her father was Valentine Sherman Wince b. 1865-d.1956 and her mother was Ruth Elizabeth James b. 1870-d. 1956. in 1905 the family resided in Farragut, Fremont, Iowa. In 1910 the family resided in Fisher, Fremont, Iowa and in 1910 they resided in Jackson, Harrison, Iowa. Cora was the second of 11 children. She had 5 Sisters and 5 Brothers. Cora was a school teacher and taught at the Whittier School in Sioux Falls, Minnehaha, South Dakota in the 1920's. She was married to Moses Manon Wallace in Vermillion, Clay, South Dakota on 12 Mar 1921. Moses was born 05 August 1888 in Mondamin, Harrison, Iowa and died 04 Jul 1965 in Rogers, Benton, Arkansas. By 1930, they moved to Walnut, Benton, Arkansas, USA and lived out their remaining years in the Benton County, Arkansas area. Cora died ?? June 1980 in Bentonville, Benton, Arkansas.

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Saturday, January 4, 2014

Russian Sports Stamps

This postcard shows Russian (Soviet) stamps and is titled "Sport on stamps." Some of these are Olympic stamps, and some commemorate other sporting events. The easiest ones to identify are the ones commemorating the Sapporo (САППОРО ) 1972 Winter Olympics. Five stamps were issued for that Olympics. The sports shown are speed skating, figure skating, hockey, ski jumping, and cross country skiing.


Many stamps were issued for the Moscow 1980 Olympics. One of them is the stamp on the lower right with the green border and magenta hurdler. To the left of that stamp is a stamp commemorating the 1974 Moscow Modern Pentathlon World Championship.

This is a post for Sunday Stamps at Viridian's Postcard Blog

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Hoover (Boulder) Dam

The large letter postcard above is from the 1930s and shows various views of Boulder Dam (now known as Hoover Dam).

Below is another late 1930s postcard showing the Figures of the Republic. These are two identical bronze figures, designed by Oskar J. W. Hansen, and installed as the principal decoration at Hoover (Boulder) Dam. They are 30' high and are cast in bronze. One sits on either side of the 125 foot flagstaff facing the gorge of Black Canyon of the Colorado River over the crest of the dam.

The following words are inscribed at the base of the flagpole :
It is fitting that the flag of our country should fly here in honor of those men who, inspired by a vision of lonely lands made fruitful, conceived this great work and of those others whose genius and labor made that vision a reality.

Hoover Dam is the second tallest dam in the United States 726 feet  (221 meters). It is a concrete arch-gravity dam in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River, on the border between the US states of Arizona and Nevada. It was constructed between 1931 and 1936 during the Great Depression and was dedicated on September 30, 1935, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Its construction was the result of a massive effort involving thousands of workers, and cost over one hundred lives. The dam was controversially named after President Herbert Hoover. 

Hoover Dam impounds Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States by volume. The dam is located near Boulder City, Nevada, a municipality originally constructed for workers on the construction project, about 25 mi (40 km) southeast of Las Vegas, Nevada. The dam's generators provide power for public and private utilities in Nevada, Arizona, and California. (source: Wikipedia)

Hoover Dam is a major tourist attraction with nearly a million people touring it each year. The 1950s postcard below is a "Pictorial Post Card" issued by Union Pacific Railroad.  The description on the back says "Massive Hoover Dam on the Colorado River, seen on a short side trip from exciting Las Vegas Nevada, when traveling to or from Los Angeles via Union Pacific." I really like the way this postcard gives me a vicarious view of the dam by including a human viewer in the image.

There are two lanes for automobile traffic across the top of the dam, which formerly served as the Colorado River crossing for U.S. Route 93. Security became a concern after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and a bypass project was expedited. The Hoover Dam Bypass opened in October 2010. Tours of the dam are still offered, but increased security concerns by the government have resulted in most of the interior structure being inaccessible to tourists.

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