As mentioned yesterday, my husband and I are building a vintage postcard scrapbook — one postcard at a time. The album covers 100 years from 1860 to 1960 and is far from filled. In the spirit of the season, from now until January, I’ll share cards from my collection.
Postcards are ephemera, that is, they are transitory things. I love that word ephemera. From the Greek it means lasting a day. To me it evokes those now you see it now you don’t kind of things like crystal-winged mayflies, toadstools in the lawn after it rains, diamond dewdrops on spiderwebs, and sky-spanning rainbows. Postcards are like that. They’re meant to tell someone you’re in their thoughts in that moment. They’re meant to make you smile. They were never meant to keep forever. Yet people kept them as treasures until the day they died. We stumble across them in our travels all the time and that’s the way of things, because as the saying goes, you can’t take it with you. I keep them as treasures now because to me they’re tokens of love and affection. The sentiment surrounds them, even if I never knew the people involved. And who doesn’t love love?
Of all the cards we have to date, the brightest boldest images are found on cards from Germany. Postcards were printed across Europe and the US, but the Germans excelled at lithography, in fact, it was a German invention. Their colors were so lively and the images so clever that people tended to keep their ephemera and were hungry for more. Needless to say, WWI brought changes to the postcard industry. After the war, Germany’s devastated print shops never regained their world-class footing. The impact of the war brought changes to other postcard printers as well. There were now shortages of ink. You can tell at a glance what postcard comes from this time. There will be a rather thick colorless border around the picture to save ink. See it in the card above.
Postcards lost some of their popularity when the world moved on. The telephone changed the way people said, I’m thinking of you.
I’m happy to announce the release of a second collection of holiday short stories written by the Exquisite Quills authors and friends ~
The Exquisite Quills Holiday Anthology Vol 2.
Both collections are free in several formats on Smashwords, Barnes&Noble, and quite possibly itunes and Amazon in the future (if we can figure out how to keep them free).
Consider it a gift to our readers. We hope you enjoy.
Today is guest Author Sabrina York. http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/
Romance Books ‘4’ Us ~
Find the dancing Santas. The December contest is on! Top prize this time is a $100 gift card to Amazon or B&N. Remaining prizes split between two winners.
Love Waits in Unexpected Places – Scorching Samplings of Unusual Love Stories
Find my novels wherever books are sold.
Sample for free!
I love these vintage cards, Rose – such an evocative way of remembering the past.
They are lovely things, truly lovely. Most of them are written with such flourish, I find them hard to read. Some are in other languages too. Letters from home, I’m guessing.
Lovely idea! Something to leave as a legacy in the future.
Funny thing about legacy. I have two minimalist children. They’ll want very little of what we collect. I’ve given my ok to donating to a historical society when I’m gone. At least other people can enjoy these things as much as I have.
My dad was that way about collecting things. When his mother died my son and I picked through some of her personal items there were two books written in German that told the history of the two villages in Bessarabia (now partially in Moldova and partially in Ukraine) that in the 1899s were part of Russia. Dad’s question when we asked about the books, was why do you want them. You don’t speak German. Actually my son does speak German as one o the five languages he speaks and is the family genealogist.
What’s fun is having something that you both enjoy doing. So many couples fail to keep the connections between them – this gives you something to do together even if it’s just poking around antique ships and flea markets.
We owned and operated a furniture refinishing business in Chicago when we were first married. Because we knew how to refinish old ratty pieces and make them gorgeous, we collected and refinished antique furniture for ourselves. However, we moved so many times when he was in grad school our scrounging naturally went to collecting small things instead. Many small things. He’s still my biggest supplier of “little bits of junk” as he calls my collection of small things. He’s so funny. I love it.
Beautiful! I love them!
Glad you liked them, D’Ann. I have some beauties for the month. Do come back. 🙂
I love vintage postcards. I’ve seen boxes full of them in Greece and drawers full of them from WWII in Estonia. My grandfather had a stereopticon with the dual photos. There was a shoe box containing pictures of the construction of the Panama Canal and another series of Yellowstone Park from the same era. I inherited it, but gave it to my second son who is interested in everything old including my wife’s family members from as far back as the 1860s.
You have the ability to bring memories back like no other. Thank you for sharing.
A stereopticon is a very cool gadget. I can just imagine the Panama pictures. We have a family friend who bought himself an old double lens camera so he can take modern stereo photographs.
I’m so glad you enjoyed that post, Ray. I love old things too, especially old implements. There are times where I can so clearly imagine the hands upon them doing the work the tools and gadgets were meant for and wonder sometimes why that is. I do believe I’m an old soul.
Your comment about old implements reminded me of some of the things displayed along the banks of the Panama Canal. One in particular is a huge floating steam crane that is still in use on an as needed basis. I have made, I was going to say five, but the updated count is eight transits through the canal not including the several trips from the former Naval Station, Rodman, Panama to the Pacific and back to refuel ships doing drug interdiction.
I’ve read that’s a long wait going through the locks. It must have been something to experience. I can just imagine the malaria during construction. Have you heard about the proposed canal across Nicaragua?
It is a long wait. On one trip, the night of the first air attacks in the first Iraq war we waited all night and into the morning waiting our turn. We waited from early morning until after dark the last time returning to the East Coast.
One interesting sidelight is that when you get into Gatun Lake ships open up all fire stations to clean sea life out of the fire mains as the canal is mostly fresh water. Barnacles that attach themselves to the hull fall off cleaning the hull enough to improve fuel economy by reducing drag.
I didn’t realize how much you can tell about how old the cards are from just looking at them. Thanks for sharing your passion!
You’re welcome. 🙂