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.


  1. I love playing squash! My friend and I have played twice a week at 6 in the morning for 25 years. This is so interesting to see this image.

  2. Trade cards, sort of, are still around. I just received an order from an Internet retailer that included two playing card-sized cards w/ the retailer's name, a snappy illustration, and---the Web address. Makes sense in a way, that an Internet retailer would want to have a concrete presence in your home.

    Best wishes to Christine and all for Christmas and the New Year! Jack/Y-town

  3. So, Jack, maybe there will be a renaissance of trade cards with great illustrations. I would love to see that happen.

  4. Christine, don't know about a renaissance. But--and this is off-topic---remember when computers were promoted as a way of ridding us of all that paper. Paperless office, and all that. Maybe there is a real purpose to paper and ink. All the best. Jack/Y-town

  5. She looks like she might just actually want to whack someone over the head with that racket, rather than chase a ball around a court... what's with the full like scarf/kerchief, sort of a sports apron?
    That's a good one about the 'paperless office' Jack, we definitely use as least twice as much paper now as we did in the 'old days' in my business. I don't think hard copy will ever go away completely, in fact it seems there has been a resurgence of boutique print/stationery shops in the past 10 years in response to the cyber assault- people like to hold things in their hands.

  6. Anon., there's sort of an online community of pen and paper folks. Try Fountain Pen Network for starters, or Pocket Blonde, run by Diane Fennel in NYC, where I've sometimes posted a thought. I think the idea is to encourage handwritten communication, to enjoy handwritten stuff, etc. Jack/Y-town



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