Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year - and don't have so much cheek!

This card was sent exactly 100 years ago to Mrs. Jay Woodin of Cortland, New York. The name is misspelled on this card.

The message reads:
Here is hopeing for you 365 days of happiness during 1911 - also hope you will not have so much cheek as you have had in your family. E.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Bonne Année - Good Luck

This French card looks so modern, almost like something from the 1950s, but it was sent in 1917. The card says Happy New Year and promises that the sprig of Mimosa will bring you good luck.

Here's the back of the card, written by Uncle ____ to his niece, wishing her a happy New Year and hoping that his little card finds her in good health, and sending her a big hug.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Bonne Année - Last Chance!

Well, if you didn't like yesterday's New Year's bachelors, perhaps you'll like this one.  Allow me to present Roger (pronounced roe-zhay.)

He had a mustache, but he shaved it off just for you. He presents you with two bouquets and a big kiss.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Bonne Année Bachelors

Here they are, the four French bachelors, all wishing you a Happy New Year and competing for your affections. Which one will you choose?

Bachelor #1 is named Jean-Paul. He has has dark hair and a mustache, and wears a dark suit. He timidly offers you a petite bouquet. Jean-Paul enjoys romantic dinners by candlelight and cries during sad movies. His sister adores him.

Bachelor #2 is named Jean-Claude. He has has dark hair and a mustache, and is wearing a dark suit. He also offers you a bouquet of flowers, though his is slightly larger than Jean Paul's. Jean-Claude likes to wear polka dot ties and enjoys romantic strolls in the park.

Bachelor # 3 is named Jean-Louis. He has dark hair and a mustache, and wears a dark suit. Jean-Louis enjoys boating, bawdy jokes, buxom women, and heavy drinking. As a schoolboy, he once put glue in Jean-Paul's shoes.

Bachelor #4 is named Jean-Pierre. He distinguishes himself with his dark hair and mustache. Jean-Pierre wears a dark overcoat and a bowler, and offers you flowers, a love letter, and a mystery gift inside the box. He enjoys working in the family's taxidermy business.

So, which one will it be?

And here's a sample of a romantic letter written by Jean-Pierre to his dear little Marie in 1913:

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Swabian Train

Swabia is a part of southwestern Germany that includes Ulm and Stuttgart. Like the Bavarians, the Swabians are proud of their regional customs and dialect. At the same time, they don't mind poking a little fun at themselves. This postcard from circa 1920 was illustrated by Hans Boettcher.

The rhyme at the bottom of the card is written in  Swabian dialect. Here's my best effort at making it rhyme in English:

A farmer made the choice one day
To take a trip on the Swabian train;

Goes to the counter and tips his hat:
"A ticket, please - thank you for that!"

He'd bought himself a goat that day,
And so he wouldn't run away;

He tied him with a piece of rope
To the back of the railway coach.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Streetcar Sunday - The Christmas Bus

Many people think that there was a conspiracy by General Motors and other companies, starting in the 1930s, to dismantle the nation's streetcar system so the companies could profit from increased sales of buses, tires, and automobiles.  Here is irrefutable evidence, from a 1913 card, that the trend started much earlier and was masterminded by none other than Santa. He looks so determined.

What child would want to ride a streetcar, when he could ride Daddy Xmas' gift-laden party bus instead?  Click here to read more about the Great American Streetcar Scandal.

The message to Walter Till reads:

To Brother Walter from Susan Frank Georgie Robert  + Francis Weaver we all wish you a very Merry XMas + a Happy New year with lots of love.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Joyeux Noël

I wish you Joyeux Noël, Merry Christmas, Frohe Weihnachten or whatever you prefer.

This card was sent to Marie from her cousin, with the following message:

The cousin who loves you

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Happy Christmas

Here's a beautiful card that was postmarked exactly 100 years ago.

One of the things I like best about this card is that it was addressed to Master Erick Brasie, in care of his father, the Postmaster, at Brasie Corners, New York.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Christmastide

Here's a Raphael Tuck & Sons trade card from the early 1880s.  Raphael Tuck and his family produced beautiful cards from the 1870s until 1960.

The back of the card is blank, except for the logo. Here are some previous posts of Tuck cards.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Playing Squash at Christmas

This is a trade card, not a postcard. Trade cards were popular from about 1870 to 1890 as advertising and as collectibles.  In most cases it's clear what was being advertised, but there may also have been businesses that gave cards out to customers without their business name. It's also possible that this is a sample card, before imprinting.  Or, perhaps the artist was advertising, although I couldn't find out anything about E.E. Manly.
It may seem odd that the young lady is holding a squash racket, but squash was starting to gain in popularity in the 1880s.
Here's the back of the card.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

New Year Greetings from Belgium

The kind and wonderful Janine bought this card at a flea market in Belgium and sent it to me. Thank you, Janine!

The printed text is in French, but the card's message was written in Dutch. In many ways, the card is similar to other cards that sought to bring attention to the needs of war orphans during and after World War I.
This card points out that it is the powerful who wage war, but that the resulting misery and suffering affect the humble people in their homes. How many men die as heroes defending the flag and leave behind crying wives, mothers, and sisters? And then the little ones who suffer from hunger, to them I reach out my hand. 

The text on the card is signed by Elsa Ghislaine in Brussels and dated 1914, 1915, 1916, and 1917.

Gabriella sent this card to her family in January, 1922 with the following message:
Dear Family,
To celebrate the New Year, we send you our best wishes and greetings from us all.

Be sure to join Janine at her blog to see some of her beautiful artwork.

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Slovak Christmas Greeting

I wish I knew what this postcard has to say. I know that the  front says Merry Christmas in Slovak, but I'm afraid I have no idea about the message on the back. Any Slovaks out there?

Update: A very nice anonymous person responded with the following translation:

Dear Jozinka and Janko,
We wish you warmly and happily a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to be enjoyed with your children. May God bless you with good health and prosperity and that you live happily for many years.
Your mom Paula.
Jozka, we sent a package to your address, please give to Maris N.

I especially appreciate the translation, because it confirms that this is a family postcard sent from the great grandparents of the architect who steals my covers to his grandparents.

Click here to check out (no pun intended!) this more recent post with the Slovak Holiday Food Pyramid.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Capital Transit, Washington, D.C.

You could probably get these postcards at the information booth at Union Station back in the old days. Capital Transit was formed  in 1933 with the merger of the three existing transit providers (Washington Railway, Capital Traction, and Washington Raid Transit.) Although Capital Transit closed several streetcar lines and replaced them with buses, they also updated the streetcar fleet with streamlined modern PCC streetcars. In 1945, they had the third largest streetcar fleet in the United States.
They ran into financial trouble in 1955, due in part to the owners paying themselves huge dividends during a time of declining transit ridership. They tried to make up for the falling revenue and squandered reserves by requesting a fare increase, which was denied.  As a result, they were unable to offer any raises for employees and the employees went on strike. During the seven-week strike, passengers had to find other ways to travel.

Capital Transit met its demise in an interesting and unusual way. One of the owners, Louis Wolfson, dared the Senate to revoke his franchise, claiming no one else would be willing to take it over.  Congress did indeed revoke his franchise, and the new system, under the leadership of Ray Chalk, was known as DC Transit.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Dreaming of Corned Beef

This girl could be dreaming of a white Christmas, but instead, she's dreaming of corned beef.  The trade card was produced sometime in the 1870s. There was a famous company by the name of Libby, McNeill & Libby, which specialized in canned meat. They are now known as just Libby, and they still produce canned meats (think Vienna sausages.)

The back of the card is also interesting.  It provides a space for a receipt for goods bought at George Mason, dealer in teas, coffees, & fine groceries in Paterson New Jersey. Here's the back of the card:

Friday, December 17, 2010

Business in Binghamton #3

This is a trade card and a puzzle card from about 1890. It's not very pretty, but that seems appropriate, considering it's advertising evaporated pie preparations.

According to the instructions, you are supposed to find a number of things hidden in the picture. While the card is not very pretty, the list of things you are supposed to look for is just bizarre:

Find - Phrenologist at the seaside - Brigand on the mountain - Punch and Judy show - Tramp splitting wood - Cat playing fiddle - Citizen stepping on electric wire - Washington shot at by an Indian - Clown riding on elephant's trunk - Indian club swinger - Jersey mosquito chasing stranger - Nigger riding mule - McCarthy and his mare and Lady jumping through ring of fire.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Merry Christmas to Brother Walter

I have so many cards to Walter from his siblings. I wonder if he wrote back to them or adored them as much as they did him.

The message to Mr. Walter Till reads:
To Bro Walter from Sister + Brother Susan + Frank. Why don't you ever write again. loads of love for  merry XMas + a Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Bonne Année!

Three lovely French cards wishing you a Happy New Year. For all I know, it may be the same woman on all three cards.

Here are the backs of the cards in the same order:

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Merry Christmas from the Goldfish

This is a not a postcard, but a regular Christmas card of a very large couple and their miniature children, separated by a Christmas tree.

I had always thought that the Christmas tree had pagan origins, but according to Wikipedia, Christian lore attributes the tree's origin to Saint Boniface and the German town of Geismar: "Sometime in St Boniface's lifetime (c. 672-754) he cut down the tree of Thor in order to disprove the legitimacy of the Norse gods to the local German tribe. St. Boniface saw a fir tree growing in the roots of the old oak. Taking this as a sign of the Christian faith, he said '...let Christ be at the center of your households...' using the fir tree as a symbol of Christianity."

Well, O.K., but then there's Santa Claus (aka Saint Nicholas), and he does appear to be based  on the Germanic pre-Christian God, Odin. And what about those elves? I'm just trying to figure out how this all fits together.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Security Threats

If you notice a suspicious object in the street...

Or you hear something ticking, something that might be an explosive...

be sure to contact the authorities immediately, so they can render these devices harmless. And if you are frustrated with those airport security checks, just think how Santa must feel.

Don't worry, Santa; the scan is anonymous. No one will recognize you.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Streetcar Sunday - Brisbane, Australia

Electric trams operated in Brisbane, Australia between 1897 and 1969. Prior to that there had also been horse-drawn trams. The electric trams were very popular, carrying as many as 160 million passengers at their peak in 1945. After that ridership declined with the increasing popularity of the automobile and increasing suburban development, until, by 1968, annual ridership had decreased to 64 million passengers.

Since 1969, there has been a move to bring back some sort of light rail, but it hasn't happened yet.
Be sure to check out the earlier post on Sydney's trams. For more information on Brisbane's trams, visit the Brisbane Tramway Museum.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

When in Winnipesaukee

When in Winnipesaukee, do as the Winnipesaukeeans...whatever it is that they do.  Lake W.  is the largest Lake in New Hampshire,  and, although the spelling on these cards is WinnEpesaukee, the preferred spelling seems to be WinnIpesaukee.

These postcards don't make it look very exciting, but it must be.  It has to be, or else French Prime Minister Nicholas Sarkozy wouldn't have gone there with his family in 2007. I remember this mostly because there was a big fuss after the French publication, Paris Match, doctored a picture of Sarkozy in his bathing suit to remove the bulge above the waistband.

Recently I read about another famous person who spent time at Lake W., Prince Albert. Not in the way you would think though. Prince Albert of Monaco went to summer camp as a youngster at Camp Tecumseh on Lake W. He reportedly returned for six summers as a camp counselor.

Several movies were set at or near Lake W., including On Golden Pond and What About Bob?
Have you ever been to Lake W.?  If so, can you tell me about the great attraction? I'm not getting it from these cards.


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