Posting vignettes based on great postcards found in my mail box and elsewhere.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Thinking of Spring

Though it will take some time to disappear, the ice and snow began melting today. I bought this card, post marked in 1908, last November at an antique shop in town. I was intrigued by its symbolism. The verse on the card is attributed to a "Mitchell. " I found this poet difficult to track down. Plus I'm having trouble with my eyes again and can't look at the monitor for more than half an hour at a time, so my research efforts were at best limited. If anyone knows or can track down this poet, I would appreciate it if you let me know.

This is the verse on the card:

But soon the icy mass shall melt:

the winter end his reign,

The sun's reviving warmth be felt,

And nature smile again. --Mitchell

The four lines seem to limit the image of this post card, which seems to be an image of the personification of spring. No doubt, a beauty, she huddles by an earthly fire. She peers at the birds, which seem to be gleaning crumbs from what could be the last of her winter stored grain. One foot is exposed to the elements, testing the air. The other is tucked into her scarlet dress for warmth. Alas, it is still winter and she will not yet dance.

I thought this image would make a transition from flowers to crucifixion, which will be my theme for April.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Glass Rose

This post card is a photo of the South Rose Window of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame. To the french, the cathedral is known as "Our Lady of Paris." It's south window, with its Mandela-like appearance, is a beauty yet the panels have undergone artistic changes over the centuries due to poor construction, damage from fire, vandals and war.
The original window was constructed in the thirteenth century, a gift from king Saint Louis. It is 12.90 metres in diameter and was dedicated to the New Testament, yet many of its scenes depict post-Testament saints and virgins. According to the cathedral's web site, the window symbolizes the Christ triumphant, reigning over Heaven, surrounded by a his earthly witnesses.
"A rose by any other name..."
The reverse side of this post card is dated July, 7, 1977, and post marked Paris, France. There is no attached stamp but rather a printed ink stamp.

One of my grandmother's church friend's, Hilda Van Norden, of Dearborn, Michigan, received this card from Henrietta. She wrote, "This is one of the most beautiful windows in the world." She goes on to say the trip was fine but plagued by hidden expenses "...(even for people who seem to have more)."

Monday, March 23, 2009

A One-Up-Your's Classic

Though I am posting flower postcards this month, I thought this card might fit the season -- at least for those of us who still have snow on the ground this time of year.
This is a classic American post card theme. It is not simply a "wish you were here" card but rather a rub it in you face card. It is more like a good natured -- "I'm better off than you are" taunt.
Post marked March 12, 1968, the card was sent to my aunt and her husband in Detroit. The message reads, "Hi, Hot as all "hades" but a good breeze today. ______ still perched with the Sutton's & we gals get no better playing Canasta -- guess we will send for Winnie -- we eat better than playing cards -- ha! Mae and I thought Art and Verne looked exactly like Dean Rusk on T.V. -- ha! That was a shame to have (the) program ruined -- Best Gale & Matquetile (sic)."
I do not know what the ruined program was the writer referred to but at the time this card was written, Washington was abuzz about a rift in the Johnson administration over the Viet Nam bombing campaign. Rusk, one of the longest serving Secretary of States, was a stanch defender of the war amid growing opposition from members of the government and the public both at home and around the world.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

An Old Flower House

This early 20th-century post card is without a message or address yet at one time had a stamp removed. I suspect my grandmother removed it for her stamp collection. She kept several stamp books for a number of years before giving her collection to one of her great grand children. It is possible she was given this post card as a gift from a friend after their return from a trip to Milwaukee. Perhaps they placed a stamp on it intending to mail but never wrote the message. I doubt my grandmother bought the card on a trip. She was not a buyer of post cards unless she was going to send a message to someone. I doubt she would have bought the card, licked and placed the stamp on it if she wanted the stamp for her collection, either. Besides, she was a confirmed miser. Her frugal ways became an ingrained habit after living through the depression of the 1930's as a teenager.

The reverse side of this post card indicates it was published for Jno. T. Faber 9 (sic), Milwaukee, Wisconsin by A.C. Bosselman & Co. New York. It was printed in Germany. (To see another Bosselman post card image go here.) Many post cards during the first few decades of the twentieth-century were made in Germany for American companies because they were the leaders in quality image reproduction. The red print on the image says, "Interior of Conservatory, Mitchell Park, Milwaukee, Wis."

The image shown is of the original Mitchell Park Conservatory in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The conservatory was designed by the local firm of H.C. Koch. Built in 1898, the original conservatory building, modeled after London’s world-renowned Crystal Palace, complete with a sunken garden, gave solace to the citizens of the Milwaukee, as the city began to flex its industrial muscle as a brewing and manufacturing center. The original conservatory was demolished in 1955 and eventually replaced by a grander and less conventional structure, consisting of three 85-foot high, beehive-shaped, glass domes. Designed by Donald Grieb, and built in stages from 1959 to 1967, each dome has plants from three distinct climates: arid, tropical and floral show.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Flower of Earth

This is one of the most beautiful portrait post cards I own. Unfortunately, the history of it is murky. I suspect, my grandmother's neighbor friends, who immigrated from Poland, brought this card to her, along with eight others of similar vintage, as a gift after a trip to the homeland. It was not written on or mailed.

The card is printed in Germany and is divided on the back. It has no other markings other than the 310/4 on the bottom right corner. The edges have a faded copper color which gives the dark background added depth.

The young model's expression is mysterious: calm and focused yet somewhat amused. Maybe mature beyond here years.

The flowered earth child against the dark background is akin metaphorically to those photos of the earth, taken from the moon, against the blackness of space. Both are flowers made more beautiful and precious contrasted against the dark void that surrounds both.

The colour photograph of Earthrise -

taken by Apollo 8 astronaut, William A. Anders,

December 24, 1968.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Blooming Desert

This post card, showing desert cacti and flora in bloom, is an example of snail blogging. Before the Internet, post cards were passed between people as a way of sharing news and images from afar, not only to the addressee but to the addressee's friends, neighbors and acquaintances.

This post card was sent between two of my grandmother's church friends on February 24, 1972. The card was later given to her and she mailed it to me at university in one of her "care packages," -- a box containing cakes, candies and usually a few post cards.

This desert flower postcard was published by Bob Petley, a noted 1950's comic and Western publisher. The illustration was done by Larry Toschik, born in 1922. He illustrated books on Native Americans and is known for his illustrations published in Arizona Highways and Sunset magazines. Toschik also worked as Art Director for the Arizona State University’s Bureau of Publications.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Flowers: roses

This month my theme is flower postcards.

I recently picked this simple yet delicate beauty at a local antique store. It is embossed and hand painted. The stamp on the reverse side is dated by hand "11/30/07." The written message on the reverse side says: "Mary, if you go to preaching tomorrow come over this way and I will go along. I guess you will get a lot of postals today. From a friend, A.M.S." It is addressed to "Miss Mary Wilson, Route H.1."

I assume the card is sent to someone within a city because there is no city in the address. The addresser is assured that the card will be delivered by the time the addressee receives it. Today we pay extra for overnight delivery. So much for progress.

I wonder why the addresser guesses that Mary will receive "a lot of postals." What had she done to become so popular? It is likely we'll never know.

"What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet..."
From Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet