Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Souvenir de France-1919

This peace postcard includes a removable Belgian lace handkerchief. The various victor flags are represented in the stitching of the numbers: Great Britain, Italy, France, the United States, Belgium, and Portugal. The card was never sent.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Manila, Phillippines - Pasig River

The Pasig River of today does not even remotely resemble the picture above.  The river has been a focal point for development over the years. Commercial centers, a university, and a racetrack are now located along the river. Manila is now one of the most densely populated cities in the world.

The Pasig River was an important transport route in Spanish Manila, however it has now become so polluted it is considered "dead", meaning it can no longer sustain life. Efforts are currently underway to rehabilitate the Pasig River.
The second postcard shows the Estero Sibacong in Manila. I don't know anything about this area, but the card is beautiful.
In the past week, Manila has had terrible flooding after record amounts of rainfall. With these cards I send my wishes for a quick recovery.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Elko, Nevada

I had a special request from Grace for a postcard from Nevada, so here it is. This postcard, circa 1950, is from a lovely motel in Elko, Nevada. Elko is located between Salt Lake City, Utah and Reno on US 80.  It's the biggest city between Salt Lake and Reno! In 1950, the population of Elko was about 5,400.
Every year in January, Elko hosts the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Elko also hosts the National Basque Festival in July. If they serve those tasty Basque croquettes, I might have to go. Elko and Winnemucca are the places to go if you want to find Basque restaurants.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Crown Prince Wilhelm

This photo postcard shows Prussian Crown Prince Wilhelm of Hohenzollern and his wife, Princess Cecilie, with the baby Prince Wilhelm, born in 1906. Crown Prince Wilhelm was the son of Kaiser Wilhelm and the great grandson of Queen Victoria.
The message on the cards says:
My dear Mrs. Sampson
A happy very happy New Year and many thanks for the nice calendar which shall be for me a favourite guide in 1907. With my best love also for Mr. Sampson.
J.M a. KR.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

California Street after the 1906 Earthquake

This card was sent from Petaluma, California on May 4, 1906, which shows just how quickly postcard printers reacted to the disaster of April 18th. The picture on the card shows the destruction on California Street in downtown San Francisco. The earthquake was felt as far away as Oregon and Los Angeles, and damage extended from Eureka south to San Jose. The death toll from the earthquake and the fire that followed it was estimated to be about 3,000. Nearly half the population of San Francisco fled for Berkeley and Oakland. Yesterday's card is a perfect example of that.
The resulting fire was much more destructive than the earthquake itself. On April 19th, the fire had reached Van Ness Avenue. In an unusual move, the army dynamited the beautiful mansions along Van Ness to establish a firebreak and save the rest of the city.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Badly Shook Up

This postcard shows a scene in Yosemite, but it was sent from Oakland, California.
The message reads:
Dear friend.
We are saved but badly shook up are on the move.
Regards from your friend Kluske
This card was a bit of a mystery to me until I took a closer look at the date. April 22, 1906 was just four days after the San Francisco earthquake.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Curve at Brooklyn Terminal

This postcard is from before 1907. The photograph itself is from the late 1890s.  In the late 1890s, electric trolley tracks were laid in the roadway, leaving only one lane for horses and carts instead of two.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Oh, Ida!

Ida wrote this card in 1913, while she was living in Apple Valley, California (also the home and final resting place of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans.)

Here is the sad text of her card:

May 3, Apple Valley
Have moved out in country.
Dear Aunt
I have wrote a card to John this morning. It was not that I did not want to write or that I do not care for the boy but I did not no what to say. They were taken from me by law, so I am mother in name only. I have no right to control them, same as a strainger. Robert is so bad I don't know what will come of him. It has been hard for me and hard for them, but we will hope they will turn out good with a little love.
(can't make out last sentence)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Hawkeye by Herbert Quick

Herbert Quick lived from 1861 until 1925. He was a lawyer, but abandoned the law in 1905 to become a writer. The Hawkeye, published in 1923, is one of a series of novels depicting Midwestern life in the 19th century.

Monday, September 21, 2009


U.S. Army Post, so no postage required. It's December 16th, 1918 and WWI has been over for just over a month. Mail is still censored though, as evidenced by the stamp on this card from Harry Ellick to William Buckley.

The message reads:
Dear Mother and Father:
The picture shows a view along the river front, and where I passed to-day while in Dunkirk. I am about three miles or so, from Dunkirk, where the Hotel casino is, and I hopped the car, in _______
The stores are all open at this place, and there are civilians there. There is a pretty good harbor there, although I did not get to see much of it. Many french, british and U.S. soldiers in town, strolling around. There was a good wind up today and the sea was kind of rough. Hope that you are all well.
Best wishes.
Pvt. Harry Ellick, Evac Hosp. No.5,
American Ex. Force.
Dunkirk, France, 16 Dec., 1918

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Narrows Motel

How could anything be less than A.O.K at the Narrows Motel?
Or is this a cry for help?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Woman of the Year

In 1942, a double room at the Wellington Hotel in New York City cost between $3.50 and $7 a night.

BH writes:
Saw Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn in "Woman of the Year." Great show. Don't miss it at Loew's this week.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Swimming at the Hague

Morris sent this card from the 'S Gravenhage (the Hague), the Netherlands in 1910.

Here is the message:

The Hague August 9
All are well and having a delightful trip. Weather is perfect. Wish you were with us.

On the front of the card are horse-drawn bathing machines and frolicking bathers. Bathing machines were carts with roofs and walls of wood or canvas, designed to preserve the modesty of bathers of the opposite sex, who were not supposed to see each other in their bathing garments. Although the carts were also used by men, their use was more strictly enforced for women. The carts were usually either pulled by horses or attached to pulleys. Whatever the case, the bathing machine was supposed to block the view from the beach of the bather getting into the water.
Instead of wading into the water in her bathing suit, the swimmer ascended the stairs to the bathing machine fully clothed. She would then change into her bathing costume and be pulled out into the water where she could discreetly descend the stairs into the water on the other side. I can't imagine that the women were able to do much swimming though, because the bathing garments of the day were fairly bulky and must have been very cumbersome when wet.
By the early 1920's the bathing machine had become obsolete. Even at the time this picture was taken, it's hard to imagine that modesty was as carefully observed as in earlier years. After all, the woman in the middle of the postcard stands in knee-deep water, wearing a wet bathing suit that clings to her body.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Eastern Airlines Silverliner

What a view!
Eastern Airlines existed from 1926-1991. In the 1930s flying ace, Captain Eddie Rickenbacher took over as CEO of Eastern Airlines. One of the first things he did was replace the existing fleet with  Douglas DC-2s (and Lockheed 10A Electras.) At the time, the DC-2 was able to reduce the flying time between New York and Miami to 8 hours, making it very popular. Note: current flying time is just over 3 hours.
The plane on the top card is almost surely a DC-2. I'm not certain about the the card that shows the interior, because I thought DC-2s were 14-seaters. Could it be a DC-3?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Price is Right

Virginia Kneitel sent this postcard in 1957, in an attempt to guess the price of the Valentine Showcase on the Price is Right. The Price is Right started airing in 1956. In those days it was hosted by Bill Cullen; Bob Barker didn't come along until 1972. The home viewer showcase allowed television viewers to send in their bids by postcard. The bid closest to the actual price without going over would win the entire showcase. I wonder if Virginia won.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

California Alligator Farm

Out for a drive at the California Alligator Farm, Los Angeles, Cal.
This card addressed to Faith Soderstrom in La Luz, New Mexico, was written in Swedish. It looks like it was sent in 1913. I don't speak Swedish, so I can't tell you what it says. I would welcome a translation though, if someone else wants to give it a try.

The California Alligator Farm opened in 1907 and was located On Mission Road and Lincoln Park Avenue, right next door to the Los Angeles Ostrich Farm. At one point they had over 1,000 alligators on exhibit. The farm charged 25 cents admission and offered rides for children, views of incubating eggs, and also carried a complete line of alligator handbags and belts. The alligator farm was a major city tourist attraction in its heyday.

Fences surrounding the farm were not always successful in keeping alligators in and visitors out. Fraternity pranksters from local universities would occasionally try to steal alligators, and flood waters would sometimes result in stray alligators in Lincoln Park Lake. The alligators also annoyed neighbors with their loud bellowing and their occasional unwelcome presence in swimming pools and back yards.

The farm was closed in 1953 and the animals were moved to Buena Park. Rumor has it that the song "See You Later Alligator" recorded by Bill Haley and the Comets in 1955 was partly inspired by this event.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Street Scene-Portland, Oregon

No message on this card, which shows Washington Street in downtown Portland, Oregon. Not sure what year, but it has to 1907 or later because that's when postcards started providing a section for correspondence on the back. Before that, only address information was allowed.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday-No Booze

A lovely view of the pier and auditorium at Long Beach, California circa 1906, where our friend Jon was unable to get a drink, because it was Sunday. On the front of the card he writes:
This is it. Bah. Sunday - No Booze -

On the back he writes:
Say Dear, I do wish you were here. Today it is such a nice day.

In 1913, ten thousand people were massed on the double-deck pier when the upper level collapsed. People from the top crashed into the hundreds of people on the deck below, ending with a pile of rubble on the beach forty feet below. Thirty three people lost their lives in the incident.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Birthday Greetings

Raphael Tuck and Sons started producing postcards in the mid 1800s in England. They were the publishers to the King and Queen and also had printing houses in Paris and new York. In the United States, many of the postcards were designed by American artists, but the cards were printed abroad, often in Germany or England. Raphael Tuck and Sons was destroyed during the London bombing blitz of WWII.

The message on this card reads:
Many Happy Returns,
Your Loving Brother,
July 1917

Friday, September 11, 2009

Maternity Corset!

 There's a lot going on with this card, sent June 10th, 1910 from Ferndale, California to Eureka, California.
Here's the message:

Get or order sis a maternity corset. Do this at once. Have a case for you soon. Baby O'Leary, over by Enos's. Want it? Attend to this for sis at once, will you? Alice
The nurse is Miss Anderson of the French. Will be here later.

I had never heard of maternity corsets, but it seems that if you were accustomed to wearing a corset from adolescence on, you wouldn't stop when you got pregnant. It may have offered support for the abdominal muscles, but it was also intended to minimize the protrusion of the belly.

The picture on the card is also interesting. It's a colorized photograph by Frank Rinehart from 1905. Although the card doesn't say so, this is most certainly a picture of the actress, Wah-Ta-Waso, a very interesting and accomplished woman from the Penobscot tribe (although she is more often described as being Iroquois.) Born in 1887, she played Chopin on the piano and attended Harvard University.  She died in 1974 and is buried in Calvary Cemetery in Los Angeles.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

BaBa Sends a Card to His Boy

Sent in August, 1909 from the finest post office in the world, which cost over seven million dollars.
Here is where BaBa put the card in mail for his boy.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Don't Call after 9 pm!

The Oakland Bay Bridge was just a baby in 1944 when this postcard was written. Pvt. Frank Gruber didn't have to pay any postage either, because it was free for the military. He wrote this postcard to his wife on September 18, 1944. In case you don't want to strain your neck, here's the text:
Dear Anna!
I'm in Frisco since last nite. Was trying to find Schuman, but they sold the place and moved. I found their address in the phone book and called last nite but nobody was home or they were in bed, it was 11 pm when I called. I'm trying to call em now. Let you know how I make out. ??
Love+Kisses Frank

It's probably just as well that there weren't any answering machines or caller ID in 1944, because I think Frank might have been cut off by his friends.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Around the World with Graf Zeppelin -1929

In 1929, the Graf Zeppelin embarked on a round-the-world trip with 20 passengers. The flight was completed in 21 days. In addition to the round-the-world stamp on the back, the postcard has a cancellation from August 10th in Friedrichshafen, Germany and in New York on August 7th.

Unfortunately, it's very difficult to make out the text of the card, but it is addressed to Hedwig Friedheim in Dresden, Germany

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Blackberry Kills a Sparrow

This postcard was sent to George Thompson of Mechanicville, NY on March 28, 1907.

Blackberry caught a sparrow yesterday and was too proud for anything. Hope you will enjoy your vacation.


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