Monday, January 3, 2011

Bonne Année with a Shadow

It's hard to celebrate the New Year with joy and abandon if you have a son, husband, brother or father fighting in a war. These French cards from World War I both show soldiers in the background. In the first one, 'The Dream', a woman envisions her husband in battle, with an angel flying above. She appears to be writing in a diary. Note the inkwell and the rolling blotter at the front of the desk.

The second portrays a hopeful boy in the basket of an air balloon, with soldiers on the field below.

Here are the backs of the cards.


  1. As always, wonderful cards, masterly presentation. Hope you have a great 2011.

  2. Wonderful cards, so poignant.

  3. Very Cool old cards, especially the top one. Is he holding a rifle? If he is, just think how many people in this day and age would be in an uproar over that? My how a hundred years changes things! (LOL)

  4. Anyone have a translation? Anyone know if mail censorship was in effect? Yes, Christine W., that does appear to be a rifle held in an informal rest position.

    You can still find contemporary half-moon (or rocker) blotters, and even dip pens. Most sales are Web-based. Folks who use fountain pens (also mostly Web-based sales) like the low-pressure, low-friction writing, which improves your cursive if you're used to the cheap ballpoint pen "death grip". Nice cards from a horrific period in Western civ. Happy New Year, Christine and all! Jack/Youngstown

  5. Ist es nicht furchtbar, das so viele Menschen durch den Krieg getrennt wurden und werden.
    Das ist heute leider nicht anders als damals.

  6. No offense, but sort of a downer for New Year's cards, I hope the kid in the balloon drops his anchor on the bad guys at least... Jack, the first card says 'I send you a giant cheese and a lovely mistress for the New Year' (not), and who cares what the second one says, all that matters is the awesome handwriting!

  7. Janine, I'll disagree a little. The mass levies of men in WWI seem to me to make separation from family different from a volunteer army's service.

    Anon., your contribution was what? Jack/Youngstown

  8. Jack, the messages on these cards are not really very interesting. They just relay New Year's greeting without any real discussion of events. The first one mentions that on the occasion of the New Year the writer offers his heart (or love) and wishes his dear brother (and father Vincent)a happy New Year. He also says that everything is going well at their house and they all send a big hello.

  9. Thanks, Christine. I think I was having some brain fizzle trying to process studio-made postcards with WWI's Western Front. Jack/Y-town

  10. My contribution Jack, as usual, was:
    1) To say if I like/dislike something
    2) To make an observation about said liked/disliked item, if I have one
    3) To be a general wiseguy
    I'm glad that C. followed up with a more accurate translation for you than I provided, but am still more interested in the flamboyant penmanship of the second card than the content.



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