Friday, December 29, 2006

Holiday Whisky Decanter

Fifty years ago you could have celebrated the holidays with this unique Old Forester whisky decanter. The same decanter that is shown on this postcard was featured in a 1956 print ad with a similar message.


The season's perfect gift—the Old Forester decanter, designed by famed Raymond Loewy. The same fine straight bourbon whisky—famous since 1870—in the year's most advanced decanter…at no extra cost.

Raymond Loewy was one of the most influential industrial and graphic designers of his time.

Russian New Year Postcard

This is a 1962 Russian New Year card with a space-related subject. Russian New Year postcards continued to be popular long after the U.S. and other countries stopped producing them, and most of the Russian postcards are very attractive and well-designed. The Russian greeting is "С Новым Годом" (S novim godom) which is literally translated as "with New Year."

There are several good websites featuring Russian New Year postcards.

For New Year's 2007, the National Library of Russia has a display of 1957 postcards. Also at the National Library of Russia is an exhibit of Early New Year's and Christmas postcards, a page of Santa postcards from the 1950s to 1980s, and an exhibit "New Year's Postcards by Elisabeth Bem" from the turn-of-the-20th-century. has many varieties of Russian New Year postcards including 60 cards in an aerospace related collection.

Many more Russian New Year postcards can be viewed and also sent as e-cards at the Soviet Posters website.

The image gallery for 12/28/06 at Novosti, Russian News & Information Agency also has some Russian New Year postcards (page URL:

Monday, December 25, 2006

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Reader's Digest for Christmas

This 1944 postcard announcing a gift subscription to Reader's Digest is mainly interesting for the note on the address side:

By using this inexpensive postcard to announce each Christmas Gift, The Reader's Digest saves about $36,000. The money saved, after deductions for taxes will be given to the U.S.O.

At a few cents per subscription, that represents a lot of subscriptions.

I have fond memories of the Reader's Digest. My mother had a lifetime subscription to Reader's Digest. The magazines kept coming for about 50 years. I thought that was unusual until I found a couple of stories on the internet about lifetime subscriptions that lasted even longer:

Friday, December 22, 2006

Cold Snowy Weather

This is one of my favorite Christmas postcards. It always gives me a warm
cozy feeling. It was mailed in 1912.

I thought of this postcard because we finally got some snow yesterday. Freezing rain was followed by heavy wet snow and everything looked like a winter wonderland for about an hour. Now everything is kind of slushy and gray, and the snow is not expected to last. It isn't very cold so if we get more snow, it will probably be mixed with some more freezing rain.

From Wahoo to Funston

Another little tidbit about Camp Funston in 1917, regarding the War Library Fund

In October, 1917, Wahoo was asked to raise $100.00 for the war library fund, besides donating books and magazines. Mrs. Wm. Ulcek acted as chairman and more than $100.00 was collected, as well as 8 boxes of books donated. The books and magazines were shipped to Camp Funston.

The Kansas City Public Library has photos of Camp Funston, especially the library. has some postcards of Wahoo, Nebraska that you can send as e-cards, also Santa Claus postcards.

I thought Wahoo was such a funny name that I decided to see what else I could find. I learned that Wahoo is the Home Office of the Late Show with David Letterman and the Late Show website has a Wahoo Gazette.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas Greetings From Camp Funston (1917)

After watching a story on the news this morning about 10,000 Sweet Martha's chocolate-chip cookies being baked for the overseas troops, I thought I would research "Christmas for the troops." After looking at what was written on the back of this postcard, however, my research went in a different direction.

This postcard is an example of a used card that is more interesting than an unused one. The message on the back is:

From A.R. K.

Camp Funston,
Co. C. 340 M.G.Bn.,

The name Funston seemed an odd name for a military camp, one more suited for a comic strip than a real camp.

I decided to google "Camp Funston" and was surprised at the amount of interesting information I found.

The basic facts are:

  • Camp Funston was built in 1917 with a capacity of over 50,000
  • It was the largest of sixteen divisional cantonment training camps constructed during World War One
  • The camp was named in honor of Major General Frederick Funston
  • It was built on the Fort Riley government reservation, near the Kansas River
  • Camp Funston still exists and is temporary housing for military personnel undergoing special training for duty in Iraq
  • Camp Funston was the source of the flu pandemic of 1918

The most interesting and surprising thing I found was a letter from a soldier written on December 26, 1917 that described the Christmas activities at Camp Funston where the weather was clear and cold with no snow:

  • 6:45—reveille
  • 8:00—marched to the arena about a mile from the barracks for stunts and races mingled with music; had a wild west show by the enlisted men with bronco busting, a tug of war, fancy roping and steer bulldogging
  • 12:00—letters and Christmas boxes from home were distributed
  • 1:00—filed to the mess for a menu of oyster soup, olives, turkey with dressing and gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, bread and butter, cranberry sauce, pies, cakes, fruits, candy, cigars, coffee and sweet cider
  • 2:00—rescued a wagon train laden with Christmas presents donated by the Red Cross and other societies that was attacked by Indian braves from the ranks
  • 5:00—ate the leavings, smoked, and lounged
  • 7:00—big fireworks display

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Christmas at Southdale

Southdale is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2006. Southdale, was the first fully-enclosed and completely climate-controlled shopping mall in the United States. It was opened in October, 1956 in the Minneapolis suburb of Edina.

Southdale was the prototype for indoor malls. Today there are over 1000 indoor malls in the United States. For more information on Southdale, see the Wikipedia article.

This card is numbered D-136 and was published by Northern Minnesota Novelties in 1962. Northern Minnesota Novelties is one of the few postcard companies that has used year date codes on their cards. They started using letter prefixes with "B" in 1960. After they reached "Z" in 1984, they started over, using the letters as suffixes. The 2006 code is a number followed by "-V."

USPS Christmas Mail

"You can put off Christmas shopping, but you can't put off Christmas." That's the message on this 1989 USPS postcard addressed to "POSTAL CUSTOMER."

I have USPS Christmas advertising postcards dated 1986, 1987, 1988, and 1989 plus several undated ones. I hadn't seen any Christmas cards from the USPS in recent years. Then a new one arrived in my mail yesterday for "Holiday 2006."

Rates for 1989:
Priority Mail: 2-day delivery between major markets and 3-day delivery everywhere else, at just $2.40 for up to 2 pounds.
Express Mail: Overnight service, at $8.75 for up to 8 ounces, and $12 for 2 pounds.

Rates for 2006:
Priority Mail: 2-day delivery in most cases, from $4.05.
Express Mail: Overnight delivery to most U.S. cities, from $14.40.

The new 2006 card also advertises Global Priority Mail, Global Express Mail, and Global Express Guaranteed services. You are invited to visit for more shipping tips.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Christmas Greetings from Chicago World's Fair

This unusual Christmas postcard was sent in 1932. It is an "Official Souvenir" and "Genuine Arena Photo." On the back is an advertising message from the Central Credit Bureau of Chicago:

A Merry Christmas we wish you,
A bright and better New Year,
When you come to the Fair in Chicago
We invite you to visit us here.
Come, Come, Come to the Fair

Old Fort Dearborn was the first structure completed for the 1933 Century of Progress Exposition. This fort was a replica of the original Fort Dearborn built in 1803 near where Michigan Avenue crosses the Chicago River. The fort and some other buildings were completed early and were open for visitors in 1932.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Your Christmas Gift

This postcard has a useful verse for procrastinators.

This year I started a gift in August so I would have plenty of time to finish it early. Then I didn't work on it again until December, so I am finishing it at the last minute anyway!

Monday, December 4, 2006

Postcard Collectors' Reference Guide

This week I have been working on a brief guide for postcard collectors. You can download the Postcard Collector's Reference Guide as a pdf file. This is just a brief guide covering the "bear facts" (see the back page of the guide for a "bear facts" comic correspondence card).

Topics covered are:
•Postcard collecting
•Postcard types and eras
•Grading and pricing postcards
•Postcard topics
•Glossary of postcard terms

Wish you were here at Christmas

I like the design of this postcard and the message which mentions "this postcard." It was published by Everett Exclusive Studios and was mailed in 1912.

I searched for information about this publisher but could not find anything other than its inclusion in a list of early card publishers at Greeting Cards in America, 1900-1939. That site is looking for information on early greeting card publishers for a book project, but does not currently have any information or examples posted. I will be interested in reading the book if it is ever finished. I am always surprised at how little information is available on early postcard publishers.

There is a card with a similar design by Everett Exclusive Studios currently available as an e-card at the Minnesota Historical Society site. (Elsewhere on that site they mention that their selection of images changes so this may not be there at a later date.)
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