Posts Tagged ‘postcard’

A Stylish Birthday Anniversary Present

August 8, 2013

Can you find the Flatiron Building in this postcard?

SEEING NEW YORK -- Ain't She Stylish!

SEEING NEW YORK — Ain’t She Stylish!

SEEING NEW YORK -- Ain't She Stylish! (reverse)

SEEING NEW YORK — Ain’t She Stylish! (reverse)

Knowing that I had an affinity for views of the Flatiron Building in New York City, for my birthday anniversary this year, one of my sisters presented me with this vintage postcard.  She had found it while browsing through a stack of old postcards at a local flea market.  The couple from the country are dressed in relatively plain garb, and apparently making their first visit to the Big Apple.  While the phrase, “Ain’t she stylish!” is supposed to refer to the New Yorker woman in the fancy outfit, it is no accident that the designer of the postcard, Irwin M. Kline, has staged the NY woman directly in front of the Flatiron Building.  such that the reader soon realizes that “Stylish!” could refer to the Flatiron Building just as much as to the woman in the fancy hat.  The design is copyright 1907, which is roughly five years after the Flatiron Building (originally named the Fuller Building) was constructed.  The new edifice adorning the New York City skyline was an immediate ‘must see’ attraction for visitors to the bustling metropolis.  This post card is number 365 in the”ANGLO LIFE SERIES”.  As of 08/08/2013, there were no “SEEING NEW YORK Ain’t She Stylish!” postcards to be found as active items on eBay, although another postcard in the ‘SEEING NEW YORK’ subseries of the ANGLO LIFE SERIES had recently sold.  That postcard was number 364 in the series, and depicts the same rural couple staged in front of the exact same background image as this postcard.  The man is looking directly at the Flat Iron Building, and the caption reads, “By gosh!  If it should fall!”


Washington Park and Sloane House Hotel – Sandusky, Ohio

June 24, 2012

Washington Park and Sloane House, Sandusky, O.

Rectangular, approximately 3 1/2″ X 5 1/2″ (~86mm X 136mm) (standard postcard size)

The Illustrated Postal Card Co., New York & Leipzig

47-2 (lower left corner of back)

Undivided back



A glimpse of the center of Sandusky, Ohio as it existed over a century ago.  This post card is undated, but was likely printed between 1900 and 1906, before the beginning of the divided-back postcard era in early 1907.  Although not postally used, there is an ink inscription along the vertical white strip on the right side of the front.  One can deduce that this postcard was enclosed in a letter with other postcards, since the inscription reads, “In the P. C. ‘Washington Row,’, notice the Sloane House with porch & balconie [sic].”  Indeed, there was a postcard titled “Washington Row, Sandusky, O.”, that was printed in the same time-frame as this postcard, but I do not have that postcard.  The inscriptions on some postcards are self-referential, such as “I visited this place today.”, but this is an interesting example of a postcard inscription that refers to a different postcard!  Although the printed postcard title identifies the major structure as the “Sloane House”, I call it the Sloane House Hotel, in order to distinguish the hotel, which was built in 1880 and razed in 1957, from the still-standing Sloane House, which was the personal residence of Rush R. Sloane, and is currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The original photograph for this printed postcard was taken from the vantage point of one of the upper floors of the Erie County Courthouse, which is located on Columbus Avenue on the other side of Washington Park.  That explains the flower bed in the postcard image that has the flowering plants arranged to spell the word “COURTHOUSE.”  One of the more well-known guests of the Sloane House Hotel was Katherine Hepburn.  She and another actor, Ann Harding, were touring in the autumn of 1940 to promote the film “The Philadelphia Story”, and stayed a night in the Sloane House Hotel.  Apparently, Ann Harding was a descendent of Rush Sloane.

Sandusky, Ohio is the County Seat of Erie County, and is located on Lake Erie at the mouth of the Sandusky River.  Visitors from all over the world come to Sandusky to go to nearby Cedar Point amusement park.Sloan House Hotel Sloan Hotel

Bluebird of Happiness — Happiness of Bluebirds

March 13, 2011
Solid glass bluebird made by Fenton Glass

Solid glass bluebird made by Fenton Glass

For my birthday anniversary several years ago, my sister Susan (contributor to This Old Paper and Ditalini Press), presented me with a beautiful Fenton Glass bluebird. I have it on the fireplace mantle, where I can admire the cobalt-blue glass bird from my work desk.

In thanks for the pleasure derived from this solid-glass bluebird of happiness, I am mailing to Susan the original of the vintage postcard featuring bluebirds illustrated here:

Bluebirds postcard by Stecher (623 D) - obverse

Bluebirds postcard by Stecher (623 D) – obverse

Bluebirds postcard by Stecher (623 D) - reverse

Bluebirds postcard by Stecher (623 D) – reverse

The printed inscription on the front of the postcard is, “The Bluebirds bring to you my Greetings”. In the foreground, a pair of bluebirds are depicted perched on a rustic, wooden roost, while two more bluebirds can be seen soaring in the puffy-clouded sky in the background. A woman walks up the path toward the front door of a log cabin that features a red brick chimney. The grass is a verdant green, and two stout trees in full foliage round out this picturesque rural scene. in addition to black ink, the other colors of ink used to create this postcard appear to be brown, blue, red, and two shades of green. The entire perimeter is slightly embossed, as are the following features: The foreground bluebirds, the rustic wooden roost and the tufts of grass around the base of the roost, both trees, and the woman. The design is not artist signed.

This card is published and copyright by Stecher Lithographic Company, located in Rochester, New York. The small, circular Stecher logo is located in the lower left corner of the front of the post card. It reads: STECHER LITH. CO. ROCH. N. Y. around the circumference of a circle with a C in the middle of it:

Stecher Lithographic Company (623 D) - Detail of logo

Stecher Lithographic Company (623 D) – Detail of logo

A short company history of the Stecher Lithographic Company is found in volume XXXV (1982) of the University of Rochester LIbrary Bulletin, in an article entitled “Nineteenth Century Rochester Fruit and Flower Plates” by Karl Sanford Kabelac. The article is available online at the University of Rochester‘s River Campus Libraries website, posted by the Department of Rare Books, Special Collections and Preservation. Scroll nearly halfway down the webpage for the section about The Stecher Lithographic Company. Although the focus of the article pertains to printers in the Rochester, New York area who made plates (prints) of fruits and flowers to illustrate the catalogues of the botanical offerings of local nurseries, the Stecher Lithographic Company also printed numerous postcards during the golden age of postcards. Wikipedia mentions that Frances Brundage illustrated for the Stecher Lithographic Company, although the entry does not specifically state that she illustrated postcards for Stecher, which also printed illutrated books.

On the reverse of this bluebirds greetings postcard, we find out that this is Stecher’s postcard Series 623 D (lower left corner). The ‘D’ indicates that this postcard is the fourth design in series 623. In addition to being sold individually, postcards often were sold in packets, and the postcards in a thematic packet would bear the same series number, but each unique postcard design within the packet would have its own letter designation. For example, if a packet contained twelve postcards, each with a unique design, then the postcards typically would have letter designations from ‘A’ through ‘L’ following the series number.

The back of this postcard has the phrase “MADE IN U. S. A.” located about a third of the way from the top of the message side. The phrases “FOR CORRESPONDENCE” and “FOR ADDRESS ONLY” (each underlined) are symmetrically located at the top of the vertical divider line, on the left side and the right side, respectively. The stamp box in the upper right corner of the reverse is defined by two, nested thin lines, and is nearly square, being only slightly higher than wide. Inside the stampbox are three lines of text:




The words “POST CARD” are centrally featured across the top of the back of the postcard. The letters have slight serifs, and the serifs at the ends of the horizontal bar of the “T” both point out (away from the central, vertical bar of the “T”).. The “C” of CARD has lots of curvilinear flourishes emanating from it.

The card is postally unused, but there is a name written in pencil, toward the top of the address side of the postcard. The name is crudely scrawled, and written over an erasure, but appears to be “Mr. A. Teribery”. Having never passed through the United States Post Office, there is no postmark date to use as a temporal guide. However, since the postcard has a vertical divider line, allowing for a message to be placed on the back of the card, then the card must have been printed after March 1, 1907, which is the date that the U. S. Post Office allowed a message to be written on the side of the postcard that had previously been reserved for the address only.  Based on the physical characteristics of the card, as well as the postmarks of other Stecher Lithographic Company postcards in my collection, a reasonable estimate of publication date for this particular postcard is in the range of 1907 to around 1925.

“For your Happiness”, here is another Stecher postcard featuring bluebirds:

For your Happiness - Stecher Series 683 D - obverse

For your Happiness – Stecher Series 683 D – obverse

For your Happiness - Stecher Series 683 D - reverse

For your Happiness – Stecher Series 683 D – reverse

The above postcard is in the Stecher Series 683, and also just happens to be the ‘D’ design of the series. The front of the postcard features a four-line verse in the upper-right quadrant:

I’m sending these Bluebirds

As a merry sign

Of the Joy I’m wishing

A friend of mine.

The font of the verse is an italic, sans-serif font, printed in black ink. Underneath the verse are two large bluebirds in flight, with wings intersecting, as well as a smaller bluebird in flight near the bottom of the postcard. The other major design element of the postcard front is a vignette of a rural farm scene, with a stylized birch tree in the foreground, just to the left of a winding dirt path that leads to a farm house and barn in the background. There is a flag flying on a flagpole to the right of the barn, and a tall, conical structure behind the farm house, which might be meant to represent a silo. The left side of the design is bordered with eight daisy-like flowers, on green stems of varying lengths. Underneath the farm vignette is printed in black ink: FOR YOUR HAPPINESS, with flourishes on the ‘F’, ‘R’, ‘H’ and “N’. The entire edge of the postcard is bordered in light blue, and the Stecher Lithographic Company logo (identical to the Stecher logo in the first postcard) is printed in black ink in the lower-left corner. The bluebirds and the daisies (stems included) are lightly embossed. As with many, if not the majority, of the postcards that feature a small vignette as the primary design element, this postcard is not artist signed.

The printing on the “For your Happiness” postcard back is identical to the printing on the reverse of the first Stecher postcard. This postcard, however, bears a stamp, although it is not postally used. The inscription, is written in black ink with a fountain pen:

“Many happy returns of the Day, is the wish of your friend”

is signed by Alwine Buth, and addressed to:

Miss Tena Memken.

1459 Bates Ave.


Using only online search engine queries (without recourse to databases available through special library-only access), I was able to determine that the “City” is Springfield, Illinois. Please comment below if you figure out what search terms were used in the online search to identify the name of the city. Arriving at a credible estimate of the date that the postcard was printed or used is a bit more challenging, since the postcard, although stamped, was probably hand-delivered by Alwine Buth to Tena Memken, or was included in a letter written by Alwine Buth to Tena Memken, and thus was never postmarked by the U. S. Post Office.* However, the stamp itself reveals at least an earliest date that the postcard could have existed. This one cent, green stamp bearing the likeness of George Washington is similar to the style of postage stamp that was affixed to untold thousands of vintage postcards. Stamps that all look pretty much identical to the postage stamp on this postcard were issued for nearly eleven years, from February 12, 1912 tthrough January 16, 1923. Without close examination, these one cent stamps all look the same. However, there are subtle differences in the stamp as it was released and rereleased by the Post Office Department. This particular stamp happens to be “Perf 11”, both horizontally and vertically, meaning that there are eleven perforations per each two millimeter length. The perf 11 version of this one-cent was issued on March 23, 1917, so this postcard was produced by Stecher (and then used by Alwine Buth) sometime after that date. Since (according to Alwine Buth was born in 1900, and Tena Memken was born in or about that same year, that would make Alwine seventeen years old or older at the time of penning this happy thought, and would explain why Tena was still a “Miss”, being in her late teens or early twenties.

*I favor the theory that, after wrting the postcard and placing a postage stamp on it, Alwine decided to write a longer message in the form of a letter to Tena, and thus included the postcard inside of the envelope that contained the letter, even though she had already put a postage stamp on the postcard. I base this theory on the evidence of two small (about one-qurter inch deep) tears in the top edge of the postcard, separated by approximately one and three-eigths of an inch, with semi-circular stress marks between the tears. I surmise that these might have developed when the postcard was (accidentally) mishandled while being removed from the envelope, the recipient not expecting there to be an enclosure other than the letter.

Let us now examine a non-Stecher vintage postcard featuring bluebirds:

The Bluebirds for Happiness - Obverse

The Bluebirds for Happiness – Obverse

The Bluebirds for Happiness - Reverse

The Bluebirds for Happiness – Reverse

This postcard features a four-line poem, entitled “The Bluebird for Happiness”

This merry little feathered friend,

So cheery, bright and blue,

Because he brings true happiness,

I’m sending him to you.

The postcard has been mailed, with a postmark cancellation from Swanton, Vermont, postmarked February 27, 1920. The postcard has been used as a birthday greeting, with this undated inscription, written in black ink using a fountain pen:

“Hello Dad, Many Happy Returns for your Birthday. You’ll soon be as old as I. Also wishing you many more Birthdays. Dorothy.”

The card is addressed to a Mr. B. E. Stearns, Swanton, Vermont, #5. 24. (Probably meaning Rural Route 5, Box 24.). The actual date of Mr. Stearn’s birthday anniversary is not stated. I wonder if it might have been February 29th, since 1920 was a leap year? Aha!! His birthdate WAS most likely February 29th!! I had been puzzled about the inscription of his daughter, but it is quite clear now! Talk about a conundrum! I couldn’t figure out why Dorothy would write: “You’ll soon be as old as I.” The only way that a father can credibly be said to be younger than his daughter is if the father has only one birthday anniversary every four years! Since Dorothy’s handwriting appears to be well developed, she was probably older than elementary-school age. This would mean that on February 29, 1920, her father would have been one of these ages (actual age/leap-year age): 52/13; 56/14; 60/15. My guess is that Dorothy was born when her father was 44 years old. If that were the case, then, when Dorothy was sixteen years old, her father would be celebrating his fifteenth leap-year birthday (actual age: sixty years old), and the postcard would make the most sense. That was fun! If I get an opportunity, I will try to research archival records to determine if my theory is borne out (Apologies for the intentional pun). Update: Research using Library Edition tells a different story. The Vermont death certificate for Burton E. Stearns gives a date of birth of February 19, 1857. Since 1857 is not a leap year, my solution to the puzzling birthday greeting message is disproven. By the way, Dorothy may have been named for her grandmother on her father’s side, since Burton E. Stearns was the son of Eldad A. Stearns and Dorothy Stearns (per the 1880 Federal Census), AKA Dolly Stearns (per the 1860 Federal Census).

Along the left edge of the reverse (back side of the postcard) is printed: Series 727, Messages — 24 Designs. Indeed, there is a very faint 727 in the lower left area of the obverse. I have not yet determined the printer or the publisher of this postcard, but the words “POST CARD” are distinctive, in that the angled descender of the letter R is a gentle arc that connects to the middle of the bottom of the letter D. Another distinguishing feature of POST CARD is the presence of a small dot in the center of the letter C. If anyone reading this post can shed light on the publisher, please comment below. The card is not embossed, but the front has what I term a pigskin surface, composed of fine, irregular indentations, probably to allow the ink to form a stronger bond with the surface of the card stock. Also of note is the white border around the front image, which indicates that this postcard was most likely printed in the United States rather than in Germany, probably sometime between 1914 and early 1920.

For some stunning photos of bluebirds in North Carolina, have a look at this post by Sweetbay, titled “Bluebirds in the Snow“.


23 Skidoo – The Flatiron Building – New York City

April 28, 2010




Please see Note 1 for description of Greetings from New York City postcard.



Above:  Map of the Flatiron District of New York City, courtesy of MapQuest.

The metaphorical intersection of architecture, idiomatic phraseology, and – at least to some extent – postcards, all converged on the geographic intersection of Fifth Avenue, Broadway, and 23rd Street in New York City in the very early 1900s to produce what some lexicographers consider to be the first fad phrase to sweep the entire nation: “23 skidoo” (sometimes spelled “23 skiddoo”).  There are many theories as to the origin of 23 skidoo, but the following explanation is the one  that seems most believable to me.

Around 1902, construction was completed on one of the tallest buildings in New York City, the 21-story Fuller Building, which would house the headquarters of the Fuller Construction Company.  Chicago architect Daniel Burnham designed the structure to fit on the slice-of-pie-shaped parcel of land formed where Broadway and Fifth Avenue intersect at a sharp angle with 23rd Street.  Since the triangular outline of the resulting skyscraper resembled a flat iron, the building was referred to as the flat iron building, and the name officially was changed to the Flatiron Building soon after construction.







Please see Note 2 for description of Fifth Avenue and Flat Iron Building postcard.

Both Broadway and Fifth Avenue are major thoroughfares in the city, and air currents would flow along those streets much like air is channeled through a canyon.  Due to its location on 23rd Street at the convergence of these two canyon-like roads, the air currents mixed and swirled around the apex of the Flatiron Building, causing unusual wind patterns that included the occasional updraft, which would tend to lift the long skirts worn by women in the very early 1900s.  As soon as it became known to the local male population that this was the case, men began to gather on Twenty-third Street at the base of the Flatiron Building to gawk.  The intersection was already one of the busiest in New York City, so police would be on foot patrol in the area to shoo away these thrill-seeking loiterers who were clogging the sidewalks.  My tattered old Webster’s Dictionary defines “skidoo” (actually, the entry is spelled “skiddoo”) thus: “to go away; leave: usually in the imperative.”  So, the officer’s command to the loitering men, “Leave immediately!” became known as the “23 skidoo”.

Here is an example of just how windy the conditions could be:

(Please note that this video must fully load before it begins to play.)  At the Foot of the Flatiron (filmed November 2, 1903). 24 seconds into the film, watch as a man enters the scene from from left to right.  As he turns to look at the movie camera,  the wind lifts his hat right off of his head!  Also, at about 1 minute 40 seconds, a lady purchases a newspaper from a newsboy just out of the movie camera view (they enter from the right).  She huddles against the base of the Flatiron building to read the newspaper, but the wind is whipping around so fiercely that the newspaper is completely unmanageable, and she exits the scene to the left, clutching the crumpled remains of what had just moments before been a pristine paper!  Also, one or more local beat policemen are seen at three different times in just this short film that is less than three minutes in length.

23 skidoo might have remained an idiomatic phrase merely local to NYC, perhaps even just to Midtown Manhattan, were it not for the fact that in the second half  of the first decade of the 1900s (1905, 1906, 1907, etc.), the picture postcard was becoming extremely popular as a means of sending quick, short messages.  Having just been built in 1902, and being one of the tallest buildings in New York at the time (the Park Row Building, built in 1899, was the tallest), the Flatiron Building was a natural as an image to grace the front of a picture postcard.  Some postcard publishers, banking on the knowledge that the unusual air patterns around the Flatiron Building were liable to cause what might today be called a “skirt malfunction”, even pictured women with skirts aflutter in front of the famous building.  Here is an example of one such post card, with the caption:

A flat iron is a good thing for doing up skirts

Such postcards were sent across the nation, and even around the world, and so it is that the postcard may have been instrumental in the viral spread of the phrase 23 skidoo.

The term itself is the subject of this postcard:





The sender saw no need to send the recipient a long “Dear John” letter.  It took only this one sentence on a suitably chosen postcard to end the relationship:  “Well Jess, I thought it over and this is the ans on the other side.”  Note that along the bottom of the obverse is “COPYRIGHTED 1907  D HILLSON”, indicating that the term 23 skidoo was already so well known by 1907 that it had its own postcard!  The postmark on the reverse is unreadable (the card is printed on card stock that is coarsely textured on both sides), but the one cent stamp commemorating the founding of Jamestown in 1607 was issued in 1907 (for the tercentenary anniversary), so the postcard was almost certainly sent in 1907 (commemorative stamps were only available at the post office for a limited time).  According to the address, the recipient lived in the area of Scio, Ohio, and so the sender must have assumed that someone in  the little village of Scio (Harrison County) in southeast Ohio would have understood that “23 skidoo” meant “scram” or “skedaddle”.

Update of 01/03/2011:  Happy New Year 2011!  As if to celebrate the arrival of this newly minted year, the blogsite 23 skidoo postcards today posted images of  hundreds of postcards that relate to the phrase “23 skidoo” either by having 23 or skidoo or both on the front of the postcard.   I am officially adding 23 skidoo postcards to my blogroll.  I noticed in their “Police” and “Messengers” section the images of several postcards that were published by Barton & Spooner, so I present one as a way of officially welcoming 23 skidoo postcards to my postcardiness blogroll:

Barton & Spooner:  "I SHOULD WORRY...Doctor" obverse

Barton & Spooner: “I SHOULD WORRY…Doctor” obverse

Barton & Spooner:  "I SHOULD WORRY...Doctor" reverse

Barton & Spooner: “I SHOULD WORRY…Doctor” reverse

Note especially the presence of the distinct outline of the Flatiron Building in the panorama of buildings that forms the background of the illustration.  Note, too, the prominent “23” emblazoned on the brass badge across the front of the messenger’s cap.  Although many postcards feature “23” or “skidoo”, very few actually link the terms with the Flatiron Building on the same postcard.  This postcard, however, provides irrefutable postcard evidence that “23”, and — by extension — “23 skidoo” were linked in the popular imagination with the Flatiron Building.  So, welcome 23 skidoo postcards!

The phrase 23 skidoo is still in use today, although it is not as wildly popular as it was in the early twentieth century.  23 skidoo lives on in the name taken by the hip-hop-for-kids (and adults!) artist Secret Agent 23 Skidoo.

Here is his “Gotta Be Me”, available on the recently released CD “Easy“:

Fun facts:  The address of the Flatiron building is 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010.  The Flatiron Building has its own facebook page.

Being so tall and narrow, most postcard views of the Flatiron Building are composed vertically, so that the image is properly viewed when the postal card has the shorter edges at the bottom and top, and the longer edges on the left and right side.  In fact, postcards of the Flatiron Building that are meant to be held in the normal, horizontal, position are only found infrequently.  But just one such card that shows the skyline of the Flatiron District with the Flatiron Building in the center is featured as the seventh (and final) postcard in We are well and HAPPY, posted by Susan E. of  This Old Paper.  It is well worth a look, since such a view is so unusual.  You can click on the image to get an enlarged view.  The post chronicles the honeymoon in New York City of Emily and Joseph Schifferli in August, 1906, by way of the postcards that they sent back to relatives in Buffalo, New York.  Most people think of Niagara Falls as a honeymoon destination, but for the newlywed Schifferli couple, apparently the Flatiron Building, only four years old, already was a “must see” destination while in New York City.

For your viewing pleasure, more postcard views of the Flatiron Building are provided below.   Your comments about any aspect of this post are solicited!

This post is being submitted to the Festival of Postcards, coordinated by Evelyn Yvonne Theriault, since the theme of this Festival (8th Edition) is “Geo.”  July 16, 2010 update:  The Geo edition of the Festival has been posted!


 Note 1
Obverse: “Greetings from New York City”.  Stylized street map with the following labels:  Trinity Church, Woolworth Building, City Hall, Empire State Building, Metropollitan Opera, Times Square, Madison Square Garden, New York Coliseum, Laguardia Field, United Nations, Eastside Airlines Terminal, Grand Central Station, Chrysler Building, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Radio City, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of History, Hayden Planetarium, St. John the Divine, Museum of New York, Columbia University, Grant’s Tomb, Polo Grounds and Yankee Stadium.  Reverse:  The numeral 142 in the upper left corner.  The caption identifies the numbered items on the map, including the Statue of Liberty.  The text in the vertical divider strip is printed from top to bottom: Acacia Card Company, 256 Broadway, New York 7, N. Y.  The use of a station number rather than a ZIP code indicates that the card was printed before 1965, most likely in the late 1950s or early 1960s.


 Note 2
Obverse:  In upper left corner:  “Fifth Avenue and Flat Iron Building, New York City”  In lower left corner: © by American Studio, N. Y.  Reverse: Caption heading in upper left corner: FIFTH AVENUE AND FLAT IRON BUILDING, NEW YORK CITY, with caption: Fifth Avenue here crosses Broadway and 23rd Street, the intersection of Broadway and Fifth Avenue forming a triangle, which is the site of the Flat Iron Building  Known as the first steel frame skyscraper erected in New York.  Along left side (from bottom to top): PUBLISHED BY MANHATTAN POST CARD CO., NEW YORK, N. Y.  Centered in the divider strip (from top to bottom): C. T. AMERICAN ART COLORED, with a 30 in a circle at the top of the divider strip, and the Curt Teich Company, Chicago logo at the bottom.  To the left of the stamp box is POST CARD in a large font, with “THIS SPACE FOR ADDRESS ONLY” in smaller font underneath.  Inside the stamp box is “PLACE ONE CENT STAMP HERE”, with the number 77870 under the text.
Here are more picture postcards that feature the Flatiron Building, presented in roughly chronological order:
*+*+*+*+* BEGIN POSTCARD ONE *+*+*+*+*



Obverse: “NEW YORK.” in upper left.  “FLATIRON BUILDING. BROADWAY & 23 RD STREET.” in upper right.  Reverse: Undivided back, printed with brown ink..  Three dotted lines for the name and address, with the number 128 under the bottom line, to the right.  “Post Card” printed in a Gothic font in upper center, with “This side is for the address.” printed in the lower left.  “Place the Stamp Here  One Cent for United States, and Island Possessions, Cuba, Canada and Mexico.  Two Cents For Foreign.” is inside of the stampbox formed of small dots.  General comments:  This view is taken at street level, and must have been based on a photograph of the Fuller Building taken soon after construction was completed (circa 1902), since the extension to the ground-floor apex of the building — sometimes called the cowcatcher — had not yet been constructed.  Another indication that this is one of the earliest views of the completed Flatiron builing is the presence of placards placed across the apex windows on the second, third, fourth and sixth floors.  The text on the placards is illegible, but most likely indicated the name of the construction company, the architect, and perhaps some of the occupants.  This view also shows one of the best views of the standalone sidewalk clock, located adjacent to 200 Fifth Avenue, on the northeast corner of Fifth Avenue and 23rd Street.  There are just a few sidewalk clocks left in Manhattan.  The Museum of the City of New York claims that only four remain.  Some websites state that the sidewalk clock at Fifth Avenue and 23rd Street (across from the Flatiron Building) was erected in 1909, at the time that a new, sixteen story building was constructed on the site adjacent to the clock, formerly occupied by the Fifth Avenue Hotel.  However, this cannot be true,   Since the sidewalk clock exists in this undivided back postcard, it must have been installed by March 1, 1907 (the date that the divided back era began in the USA).  The Flatiron District is rich in large timepieces.  The clock tower of the Metropolitan Life Building — AKA the Met LIfe Tower — was constructed in 1909 (construction proposed in 1905) as an addition to a preexisting building which had been built in 1893.  The Met Life Building is located at 5 Madison Avenue, one block from the Flatiron Builiding, with Madison Square Park occupying the intervening space.  The four clocks on the Met Life Tower — each twenty six and a half feet in diameter, one on each side of the clock tower, would afford the tenants of all but the lowest floors of the east side of the Flatiron Building an unobstructed view of the clock tower.  So, with the standalone sidewlk clock at street level, and the Met Life Tower clocks high in the sky, an occupant of the Flatiron Building would have little need to refernce a wrist watch or pocket watch.

Note also (in the lower left corner of the image) the scaffolding in the middle of Broadway, where a freestanding streetlight fixture is under construction to better illuminate this busy, six-way intersection at night.  The completed street light can be seen in postcard six, below.  This unused, undivided-back postcard was printed pre-March 1, 1907.

*+*+*+*+* END POSTCARD ONE *+*+*+*+*





C. V. 123_Flat_Iron_Building_UDB__obverse

C. V. 123_Flat_Iron_Building_UDB__reverse

Obverse: Borderless image with a 3/8 inch white area (for a written message) at the bottom.  Caption is printed in red ink, positioned just under the image, left-justified.  Text is all caps regular (not bold) sans-serif font, printed in red ink.  “C. V. 123 – FLAT IRON BUILDING.  NEW YORK.  Reverse:  Undivided back.  Printed using black ink.  “Post Card” in a fairly fancy serif typeface, decorated with straight as well as curved lines, and with seven stars at the lower left of the decoration.  “THIS SIDE FOR THE ADDRESS.” is in the lower left area of the back, printed in a bold, serif font.  In a small font, centered along the left edge is “MADE IN GERMANY.”, printed in a regular, sans serif font.  There are two solid lines, indicating the places where the name and address of the recipient is to be written.  The bottom line is positioned directly beneath the top line.  The stampbox design resembles a double-sided picture frame, with circular embellishments at each corner and at the center of each side.   “PLACE STAMP HERE  DOMESTIC ONE CENT  FOREIGN TWO CENTS” is centered in the stampbox.  General comments:  I have been unable to find any information on “C. V.”, which are likely the initials of the postcard publisher or printer, although it is possible that it could stand simply for City View.  Please comment if you have any information!  Note that this is the undivided back version of the divided back postcard illustrated next.

*+*+*+*+* END POSTCARD FOUR *+*+*+*+*

*+*+*+*+* BEGIN POSTCARD FIVE *+*+*+*+*

C. V. 123_Flat_Iron_Building_DB__obverse

C. V. 123_Flat_Iron_Building_DB__reverse

C. V. 123_Flat_Iron_Building_DB__reverse

This postcard is nearly identical to postcard number four.  However, this postcard has a divided back, and there are some minor differences on the front, too.  It is instructive to detail the changes to this postcard as it was reprinted in the divided back era.  Obverse: The image is identical, although printed with a little more yellow and a little less red.  The caption text is identical, but the type has been reset using a bold font.  Reverse:  Divided back.  Printed using black ink.  “Post Card” in a much plainer, barely-serif typeface than postcard four.  The decoration around Post Card has been redesigned.  There are now only six stars, and they have been repositioned.  The curved lines are now clearly supposed to represent tails on the two largest stars, suggesting shooting stars.  “FOR THE ADDRESS ONLY.” is cradled in the tail of the right shooting star.  The divider line consists of two solid vertical lines.  There are two dotted lines in the address area, the bottom line positioned directly beneath the top line.  The type of “MADE IN GERMANY.” has been reset in a slightly larger font.   The stamp box, too, has been redesigned, The border is now three nested, solid lines with curved corners.  The outermost rectangle has points in the center of each side.  The phrases “PLACE STAMP HERE”, “DOMESTIC ONE CENT” and “FOREIGN TWO CENTS are now separated by small hollow circles.  The overall design of this divided back era postcard is decidedly less Victorian than the design of the undivided back era postcard, this one showing hints of Art Deco.
*+*+*+*+* END POSTCARD FIVE *+*+*+*+*
*+*+*+*+* BEGIN POSTCARD SIX *+*+*+*+*




Obverse: “Flat Iron Buillding, New York.” in upper right corner, printed case-sensitive in red ink using a small, serif font.  The view is taken at ground level, looking directly at the apex of the subject building.

Reverse: Printed using green ink.  The lettering of “Post Card” is in a pseudo-case-sensitive, curvy serif font.  “THIS SPACE MAY BE USED FOR WRITING” is to the left of the undecorated vertical divider linle, and “THIS SIDE FOR THE ADDRESS ONLY” is to the right side.  Beginning just to the right of the divider line, along the bottom right edge of the card, is printed “Success Postal Card Co., Publ., New York.  No. 1006”.  The stampbox consists of at least a solid rectangle, but the interior of the stampbox is covered by the affixed one cent U. S. Postage Stamp.  The postmark is dated June 15, 1911 at 10:30 PM, from New York, N.Y. Station G.  The card is addressed to Dr. A. E. Sherman, 106 Main Street, Aurora, Illinois, with the following undated pencilled message: “Hello Doc!  I am going to bring you this building. W”.

General comments:  Although a divided-back postcard, postmarked in 1911, the view appears to be adapted from a photograph shot very soon after construction was completed on the Flat Iron Building, circa 1902, since the “cowcatcher” extension of the first floor apex has not yet been constructed.  In fact, it was probably taken just shortly after the photo that was the basis of POSTCARD ONE (above).  Note that all of the placards visible in postcard one have been removed in this image, except the placard on the sixth floor.  Also, the multi-globed light fixture located in the middle of the intersection that was under construction in postcard one is now completed in this view.  The stand-alone sidewalk clock — although somewhat obscured by a horse-drawn carriage — is visible in this image, located in front of the Fifth Avenue Hotel at 200 Fifth Avenue.  The Fifth Avenie Hotel would be razed just few years later, to allow construction of a new office buildling completed in 1909.  This postcard also provides a fairly good view of the red-brick building at 935 Broadway, adjacent to the Broadway side (left side) of the Flatiron Building, which was the headquarters of Pach Brothers Photography for many years.  If you look closely at the sign on the roof of the building, you can make out “PACH BR” on the top with “PHOTOGRAPH” on the line beneath.  The right-hand side of the signage is blocked by the Flatiron Builidng.  The history of the Pach Brothers Photography studio is fascinating:  A synopsis can be found at the Guide to the Pach Brothers Portrait Photograph Collection, maintained by The New York Historical Society.

*+*+*+*+* END POSTCARD SIX *+*+*+*+*

*+*+*+*+* BEGIN POSTCARD SEVEN *+*+*+*+*




Obverse: Printed in red ink, three lines of text in upper left corner. First line: “Flatiron Building,”; second line: “New York.”; third line: “COPYRIGHT, 1910, BY IRVING UNDERHILL, N.Y.”. The first two lines are printed using an italic, serif, case sensitive font, whereas the bottom line is a much smaller font type that is all caps, sans serif. The view is of the front of the Flatiron builiding, taken from an elevation estimated to a fifth or sixth floor vantage point.
Reverse: Divided back, all printing in brown ink. The vertical dividing line is positioned approximately three-eighths of an inch left of center. “POST CARD.” is in all caps, with exagerrated angular serifs and a wavy embellishment flying to the left from the tip of the letter “A”. Underneath “POST CARD”, on the left side of the dividing line, is “THIS SPACE FOR COMMUNICATION.”, in a small, all caps, sans serif font. On the right side of the dividing line is “ADDRESS ONLY”, printed using a slightly larger font. Near the left edge of the back is “14 — M. & Co., N. Y.”, printed vertically reading from bottom to top. The stampbox consists of a thick rectangle enclosing a thinner rectangle with embellishmnets emanating from the inside of each corner. Inside the stampbox is printed: “Place Stamp Here Domestic One cent Foreign Two cents”. The card is postmarked July 14, 1911 at 10:30 PM from Brooklyn, N.Y. Station, and is missing the postage stamp.

The postcard is addressed to Geo. H. Olmsted, 134 Owasco, Auburn, N. Y., and the message, dated July 14, is as follows: Dear Papa, This afternoon we’re going to the Met. museum of arts. Last night we had a fine ride the whole length of Broadway and saw it all lighted. I am sending Mrs. Eisenhower a letter card now and grandma too. Its funny she didn’t get my other one but perhaps I didn’t address it right. We saw a piece about that girl drowning in paper. Tomorrow we go to Utica. Love, Mary”. All written in a small, legible handwriting using a fountain pen.  When studying postcards for genealogical purposes, sometimes hints are hiding in plain sight:  We would not know Mary’s relationship to George Olmsted, except that she took the time to write the salutation “Dear Papa”, a formality often lacking on postcards.  So we now know Mary’s surname, at least pre-marriage: Mary Olmsted.

General comments: Areas of excessive age-discoloration at the bottom front. This postcard shows the ground-floor extension of the apex of  the Flatiron building, sometimes called the cowcatcher, so the original image from which this card was designed must have been taken after the construction of the extension. I could not find a date of construction of the extension, but United Cigar Stores, a first-floor tenant of the Flatiron building in 1917, turned the cowcatcher extension into a mock fort and U. S. Army recruiting station for the Wake Up America parade that was held on April 19, 1917. A good close-up is available here.  The Flatiron Building was not built primarily to house retail stores, but the first floor would have lent itself well to one or more retail establishments.  Garden City Estates, a real estate company, occupied the third floor in 1910, as we learn from an ad placed in the February 24, 1910 issue of the New York Tribune newspaper.  The ad reads, “FOR RENT – THE ENTIRE THIRD FLOOR OF THE FLATIRON BUILDING 23d St. and Fifth Av., containing about 6,000 sq. feet now occupied by the GARDEN CITY ESTATES.  HANDSOMELY FINISHED.  Sign priveleges.  Apply to C. B. Paul, 120 B’way.  Telephone 151 Cortlandt.”  The ad also was published in the February 25, 1910 issue of the same newspaper.  The sign priveleges were exercised by the Garden City Estates, who had a sign with the company name attached to the building facade outside the third floor,  Each letter of the company name was inset with electric light bulbs, so as to be able to be illuminated at night. The history of the electronic outdoor sign is a fascinating one, and, from most accounts, begins in 1892 at the very site now occupied by the Flatiron Building! More to come on this topic soon, perhaps in an upcoming post.

*+*+*+*+* END POSTCARD SEVEN *+*+*+*+*

*+*+*+*+* BEGIN POSTCARD EIGHT *+*+*+*+*




Descriptive commentary coming soon!
*+*+*+*+* END POSTCARD EIGHT *+*+*+*+*
*+*+*+*+* BEGIN POSTCARD NINE *+*+*+*+*




Descriptive commentary coming soon!
*+*+*+*+* END POSTCARD NINE *+*+*+*+*
*+*+*+*+* BEGIN POSTCARD TEN *+*+*+*+*




Obverse: Photochrome era depiction of the upper stories of the Flatiron Building.  The architectural detail of the terra cotta face of the building is most evident in this image.  Although there are no statues on top of the flatiron building, perched at the highest point of the apex of the structure are two figures – either terra cotta or carved marble – that flank a wreath that surrounds a shield.  Under the shallow ledge located under the top two floors are placed figural elements – the head of a lion alternates with a circular design reminiscent of the sun or of a daisy flower.  There are ten lion heads and nine sun discs per side.

Reverse:  All printed in black ink.  Upper left top line: REINHART WOLF  Upper left second line:  Flatiron Building, New York 1980  Bottom left top line: Serie 69  Reinhart Wolf, New York  Bottom left bottom line:  Karte 5 von 10     Bestell-Nr. 69/5   Dividing line consists of text in all capital letters, reading from left to right when card is rotated counter-clockwise:  GEBR. KÖNIG    POSTKARTENVERLAG     BREITE STR. 93     D-5000 KÖLN 1     PRINTED IN GERMANY

There are three thin, solid, horizontal lines of the same length to use as a guide in addressing the postcard, and there is no stampbox.

*+*+*+*+* END POSTCARD TEN *+*+*+*+*


As always, your questions or comments are most appreciated.

The Difference of Night and Day

February 28, 2010

I have a few postcards in my collection that claim to depict a view at night.  But close examination of the supposed nighttime view almost always shows much brighter detail than would have been visible if the view had been originally photographed after the sun had set.  So, there must be a different way to depict a night scene than starting with an original photograph that had actually been taken after dark.  What I discovered is that at least some — and probably most if not all — of pre-photochrome night time postcards really show a daytime view that has been altered to make it appear to be a nighttime scene!  I have chosen two linen-era[1] postcards to demonstrate my thesis.  Shown below is “AUDITORIUM AND CONVENTION HALL BY NIGHT, ATLANTIC CITY, N. J. — 5“.[2]  

The eye is immediately drawn to the spectacular shafts of colored light emanating from spotlights mounted atop the front facade of the auditorium:  Three yellow spotlights, two red and two blue lights, and one central purple spotlight.  The windows of the auditorium and the surrounding buildings are aglow with yellow light, and a large sign on the right side of the auditorium proclaims GOLF in bright red letters, apparently illuminated from within.  The right side of the auditorium is adorned with ten flags:  A United States flag at each corner, with varicolored pennant flags in between.  The beach in front of the auditorium is dotted with people, right up to the seashore, and a multitude of people are wading and swimming in the ocean, enjoying the waves and water.  A not implausible scene, taken as a whole, but, on reflection, the beach — and especially the water — would most likely be almost bereft of people after dark, even at such a popular vacation spot as Atlantic City, New Jersey.  Still, in lieu of evidence to the contrary, we can hypothesize that this postcard view of the auditorium truly is based on a photograph that was taken at night.   





 Matched set of postcards: NIGHT – Above   |||   DAY – Below





Now consider the above postcard.  Obverse top caption: “9  ATLANTIC CITY AUDITORIUM AND CONVENTION HALL, ATLANTIC CITY, N.. J.”  Obverse bottom caption: “LARGEST CONVENTION HALL IN THE WORLD, SEATING CAPACITY 40,000, BALL ROOM 5,000”  

Close examination reveals that both this daytime view as well as the nighttime view are based on the same photographic original!  Note especially the identical pattern of the breaking waves as they approach the shore.  The most telling piece of evidence, however,  is that the distribution of people both on the beach and in the water is exactly the same in both the daytime and nighttime postcard views!  

There are some minor differences between the two postcards.  The GOLF sign lighted in red in the night view is completely absent in the day view, and the day view shows the American flag flying at the top of each of the ten flagpoles along the right side of the auditorium, whereas the night view has pennant flags in the second through ninth positions.  How can this be?  Most of us are familiar with the magic that can be accomplished with PhotoShop and other software programs that can be used to alter a digital photograph in ways both major and minor.  Well, the photographers and printers of years gone by had similar techniques at their disposal, albeit in analog form.  The GOLF sign actually existed in the day view; it has simply been removed to better show off the architectural lines of the auditorium.  In the day view, a very close examination of the portion of the side of the auditorium that was obstructed by the GOLF sign shows a slightly lighter building color with the same outline as the GOLF sign.  

As for the flags, it is probable that the original photograph upon which both views are based showed flags atop the flagpoles, but it is highly unlikely that all of the flags would have been flying straight out at the moment the photo was taken.  Thus, all of the flags in both the day view and the night view almost certainly have been manually added.  American flags are more impressive in the day view, and the replacement of eight of the American flags with pennants gives the night view more splashes of color.  It is also possible that the auditorium had no flags at all, and that the flags – flagpoles and all – were added to the postcard view to supply more visual interest.  One would have to reference contemporary real photo images of the auditorium to verify.  Keep in mind that until the advent of the photochrome postcard, all view postcards were either printed in black and white, or black and white that was colorized.  The selection and placement of color was under the complete control of the printer, as was the design, even when the design was based on a photographic original.  I intend to explore the altering of postcard images in an upcoming post.  Suffice it to say for now, when it comes to a postcard view, you can’t always believe what you see!  

Some postcards are more amenable to a nighttime version than others.  Postcards that lend themselves to a night view are ones that would typically have light or illuminated elements after dark.  Postcards that depict a skyline or an areal (sometimes called a bird’s eye) view can show all of the windows in the buildings lit up in the night version.  Views of ships often work well in an “at night” version, since they were often equipped with one or more searchlights, to which the color artist would add a shaft of white light.  Too, light would be shown emanating from each of the windows or portholes of the ship.  Postcard views of lighthouses also lend themselves well to both nighttime and daytime editions.  

Just one more observation concerning vintage postcard night views.  Many of the night scenes that do not have an obvious terrestrial light source (and even some that do) will show a full moon in the sky, which would lead the viewer of the postcard to assume that the light of the full moon was the light source for the night scene.  Nope!  The postcard was almost certainly based on a photograph that had been taken in bright sunlight, with the sky that had been colored light blue in the daytime view version of the postcard replaced with a dark blue-black color for the nighttime version.  Then, the creation of a full moon was one of the easiest tricks up the postcard color artist’s metaphorical sleeve:  Simply leave a circular area in the dark sky without any color!  A full moon in the night sky on an older view postcard is almost a dead giveaway that the view is really a daytime view that has been turned into a faux night view.  

To the best of my knowledge, the Atlantic City Auditorium is the only day-and-night matched set in my collection, but I do own one half of two other sets.

I have the daytime version of “New Flyer of the Lakes, Steamer Put-in-Bay, Detroit Put-in-Bay Sandusky” (a Lake Erie steamer):

New Flyer of the Lakes__Put-in-Bay__DAY__obverse

New Flyer of the Lakes__Put-in-Bay__DAY__obverse

New Flyer of the Lakes__Put-in-Bay__DAY__reverse

New Flyer of the Lakes__Put-in-Bay__DAY__reverse

Its nighttime counterpart is listed on eBay as ”Antique POSTCARD “New Flyer of the Lakes” Ship, Detroit”.  This eBay seller uses photo hosting by Auctiva, so you can click on the front image in the item description to see an enlarged view.  Close examination of the night view will show that it is merely the day view printed with a different palette of colors.  Note especially that the wave pattern is identical in both printings.  A shaft of white has been added to the searchlight anchored above the captain’s bridge, the windows of the ship have been printed with yellow ink, and the nearly obligatory full moon has been added to the sky.

Here is the nighttime version of “Birds Eye View of Albany N. Y.”:

Birds Eye View of Albany N. Y.__NIGHT__obverse

Birds Eye View of Albany N. Y.__NIGHT__obverse

Birds Eye View of Albany N. Y.__NIGHT__reverse

Birds Eye View of Albany N. Y.__NIGHT__reverse

Its daytime counterpart, titled Lower Portion of Albany, New York 1910, is posted in the “Albany, New York Postcards & Old Photos” area of  Note that the designer-printer of the night version has not only drawn in a full moon, but also has drawn a star-studded sky over the skyline of Albany.  It may be hard to see in the image provided above, but the stars have been drawn with points, just like the star that tops a Christmas tree!  Also, the artist must have known at least a little about constellations, since there is a star pattern on the right that approximates the Big Dipper (Ursa Major).  Also, the star cluster located beneath the full moon could be a representation of the Pleiades (“The Seven Sisters”).  Although I’m sure that the artist was striving for an overall pleasing effect that would sell more postcards rather than for astronomical accuracy, whether by accident or design, the star cluster is drawn showing six stars, the seventh star being much fainter than the other six when viewing the Pleiades with the naked eye.

With a bit of patience and diligent searching, a postcard collector could acquire a number of day-and-night matched sets such as the above examples, which would make an unusual and informative display at a local library, museum or postcard show.  Also, such a collection could form the basis for an interesting lecture presentation at a postcard club meeting.  I would like to know of other day-and-night matched sets that you may find!  

So, what is the difference between night and day?  When it comes to vintage postcards, the only difference is the color of the ink!  However, when it comes to music, perhaps this composition by Indiana’s own Cole Porter explains the difference (note the faux full moon backdrop in the final video footage of this YouTube video):

As we close this exploration of night and day scenes on old postcards, if we have gained a little knowledge, we can truly proclaim, “I’m beginning to see the light!”  Or, we can sing along with Ella Fitzgerald (with Duke Ellington and his orchestra):

This post is being submitted to the Festival of Postcards, coordinated by Evelyn Yvonne Theriault, since the theme of this Festival (7th Edition) is “Light.”  Please do view the dazzling array of entries at A Festival of Postcards (7th Ed.) – Light | A Canadian Family!

Designated trademarks and brands are the property of their respective owners.


  1. ^ Both of these linen era postcards are unused, so cannot be dated using a postmark date, but the daytime view is printed by Curt Teich and Company, Chicago, Illinois, and so can be dated to 1933 by the postcard number 3A-H1235.  The “3A” indicates the 3 year of the 1930s.  I have not found a way to date the unused nighttime postcard, published by the E. C. Kropp Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, based on identification marks on the card (31465 at the top middle area of the address side of the reverse and EJY at the bottom of the dividing line text on the reverse), but if anyone knows of a guide to dating E. C. Kropp postcards, please let me know.  In any case, the fact that the nighttime card has a linen finish (on both sides) and has explanatory text on the reverse is consistent with a printing date in the mid-to-late 1930s, roughly contemporaneous with the daytime card.
  2. ^ The reverse of the card has further commentary: “The Convention Hall, possibly the largest in the world, covers seven acres of ground and can seat the entire permanent population of Atlantic City at one time, with room to spare. The main Auditorium is used for exhibition purposes, ice-skating carnivals, and even made into a full-sized football field.”



Andersen’s Pea Soup

January 14, 2010

A piping-hot-bowl-of-split-pea-soup welcome to ~Postcards From The Dinner Table~ (PFTDT), the newest addition to the postcardiness Blogroll!  Karen Resta maintains this wonderful blogsite, writing with wit and imagination.  I found Postcards From The Dinner Table via Karen’s submission to A Festival of Postcards (6th ed.) — White, and had been meaning to add PFTDT to my Blogroll, and even had selected a welcome postcard to feature, but work and family obligations left little time.  However, I knew that today, January 14, 2010, was the day to make time to welcome PFTDT, because Karen features today the very postcard that I had chosen to post as a greeting:  Pea Soup Andersen’s!  So, like two peas in a pod, here is Pea Soup Andersen’s:  

Andersen's Pea Soup - obverse

Pea Soup Andersen's - obverse

Andersen's Pea Soup - reverse

Pea Soup Andersen's - reverse

But wait!  The PFTDT postcard and my postcard are not “two peas in a pod”!  The postcards are nearly identical, yes, but subtle variations can be seen.  Postcards can experience “genetic” variations, just like the variations that Gregor Mendel observed in his famous experiment with,,, you guessed it:  PEAS.  

According to the Mendelian system, the PFTDT postcard is the P or “Parental” generation postcard, since only one location is given for Pea Soup Andersen’s Restaurant:  Buellton, California,  43 miles north of Santa Barbara on U. S. Highway 101.  However, the postcard depicted above belongs to a later generation, since by the time it was printed there were three Pea Soup Andersen’s restaurants in California:  The original location in Buellton on U. S. Highway 101, north of Santa Barbara, a second location in Santa Nella, 65 miles south of Stockton on Interstate 5, and a third restaurant at Mammoth Lakes Village in Selma, situated in the High Sierras.  Since my postcard has a copyright date of 1976, the PFTDT example must be pre-1976.  

The original Pea Soup Andersen’s restaurant is located at 376 Avenue of the Flags, Buellton, CA 93427-9704; phone: (805) 688-5581.  The address of the Santa Nella restaurant is 12411 State Hwy 33, Gustine, CA 95322-9792; telephone:  (209) 826-1685.  The Mountain Springs Valley location is no longer operating as a Pea Soup Andersen’s restaurant, but leaves an enduring reminder of its former presence in Selma, California:  There is a short street named Pea Soup Andersen Boulevard, with two establishments addressed to it:  The Spike and Rail Steak House (2910 Pea Soup Andersen Boulevard) (formerly Pea Soup Andersen’s) and Holiday Inn Selma Swan Court (2950 Pea Soup Andersen Boulevard).  Update of July 24, 2010:  According to an employee of the Spike & Rail, the transfer from Pea Soup Andersen’s took place around 2001.  Some reviews on Yelp document that split pea soup is still featured on the menu!  Here is a photo of the restaurant at Mammoth Springs (taken after the name had changed from Pea Soup Andersen’s to Spike and Rail Steak House), showing the signature windmill architecture for which Pea Soup Andersen’s restaurants are noted. 

Fun facts:  Pea Soup Andersen’s has a facebook page.  The surname “Andersen” is often misspelled “Anderson”, yielding “Pea Soup Anderson’s”.   This postcard is published by Kolor View Press, based in Los Angeles, CA 90064 Printed in USA copyright 1976

There is so much more to write about this postcard, but duty calls.  Welcome Karen, of Postcards From The Dinner Table!

Update:  Karen has posted a recipe for split pea soup in the following three, consecutive posts:

Split pea soup recipe Part 1: Not Only Slow But Delightfully Lazy (Split Pea Soup)  I highly recommend a viewing of the YouTube video of Bisschen dies und bisschen das that is embedded in this post  Sheer fun!

Split pea soup recipe Part 2: On Not Being a Princess In the World of Pea Soups

Split pea soup recipe Part 3: Romancing the Pea in Any Given Soup has a simile-simmered story interwoven with the finale of the pea soup recipe.

U. S. Postal Card Club

December 13, 2009
U. S. Postal Card Club postcard - Blanche

Obverse of BLANCHE in the U. S. Postal Card Club series

This is one of those postcards that is more interesting for its reverse (address/correspondence side) than for its obverse (picture side).  The obverse simply has the name Blanche in all capital letters, printed diagonally with a positive slope.  Each letter is solid green with a gold border and a brown shadow effect, and is decorated with a gold floral pattern sporting four-petaled red blossoms.  The background has a light green border that fades to white toward the center, and sports a gold floral accent in the upper-left corner that matches the design on the letters (sans the red coloration of the blossom petals).

Blanche, besides being a woman’s name, is also the French spelling of the word white.  Blanche was a more popular name around the turn of the twentieth century than it is at the present time, according to the chart on, dropping in popularity from around 0.5% of all births in the 1880s to under 0.005% of all births in the 1960s and succeeding decades.  If you are named Blanche and attending a large party, and somebody yells across the room, “Hi, Blanche!” the chances are pretty good that they are talking to you!

The reverse of this “Blanche” postcard has the following advertisement printed in black ink: 

NOTICE–The holder of this card is a MEMBER
of the U. S. P. C. Club, and is entitled to membership prices.
On receipt of 10c  Coin) we will mail you 8 of these up-to-date postal cards.
     Make your selection from the following list:   ORDER TODAY 

Love         Leave For      My Pet      How R. U.        Farewell
Stung       Will C. U.      Regards    Y. Don’t U.       Au Revoir
I love U.    Kisses          My Darling     U  R. E. Z.   Good Luck
Dream of Me                 Will U. Go        Kisses—Lovers Sweets
My Sweetheart              Best Wishes    Silence Gives Consent
I’m Waiting for You        Please Write    Better late than never
Congratulate U All         Will U Come      Birthday Greetings
Will Write U. From        Father’s Baby    Having a good time
I dream of thee             Sweet dreams    Many happy returns
Will U. B. Mine            My Honey Boy       With fond hope
Love me and I’m thine   We R All Well        Yours forever
Make money honest, but make it           Also all Popular Names. 

U. S. Postal Card Club, Williamson Bldg, Cleveland, O.
For correspondence 

U. S. Postal Card Club postcard - Blanche

Reverse of BLANCHE in the U. S. Postal Card Club series

Some of the messages that a member of the Club could order are incredibly similar to typical 21st century text messages, especially in regards to the use of abbreviations!  The advertisement for the U. S. Postal Card Club takes up nearly half of the space usually allotted for the sender to write a message, so the printer added a solid line under the last line of the ad, with “For correspondence.” printed underneath the line.  It is apparent that the postcard would normally be printed without the advertisement, since the reverse of the card is printed in brown ink, whereas the ad is printed in black ink.  Another indication that the ad is an addition to the regular printed reverse is the presence of “For correspondence” [partially trimmed] — printed in brown ink — in the very upper left corner of the card, indicating that a postcard without the ad would have had the entire left side of the reverse available for a message. 

Many divided-back postcards have a vertical line separating the left side (message side) from the right side (address side).  However, some publishers use the vertical separator to print company or other pertinent information, and this postcard falls into the latter category.  If the card is rotated 90 degrees counter-clockwise, the text of the separator can be easily read: 

System Patent Pending.  Levaur Lithograph Post Card Co., Cleveland, O. 

The following text is inside the stamp box, which is delineated by dotted lines: 

Place Stamp

 Canada, Cuba
    Porto Rico
      1 Cent 

      2 Cents 

The remaining printing on the reverse consists of “POST CARD”  in a large bold sans-serif font and “This side for Address” underneath it, both being located to the left of the stamp box.  There are also four dotted lines on the address side of the reverse on which to pen the address of the intended recipient.  The last tidbit of printing is “No. 42”, located just above and to the right of the separator text.  That number makes at least some sort of sense, since there are forty obverse messsages listed in the ad, not including  “Also all Popular Names.” , to which the finger is pointing.  One can speculate that the obverse messages that a member of the Club could order might have been numbered 1 through 40, with perhaps mens’ names being No. 41 and womens’ names being No. 42.  Just a conjecture; input from readers is welcome! 

You might have noticed that the postcard is not perfectly rectangular.  This is because the top and both sides have been cut by the sender.  This postcard was enclosed in an envelope when mailed to the (unknown) recipient.  The proof that the postcard was mailed within an envelope is the presence of a faint embossed circle exactly the size of a postal mark on the obverse underneath the N of BLANCHE.  The circle is only faintly embossed; however, its presence can be tactilly detected as well as visually, but to be visible, the postcard must be held such that light reflects off of the obverse at just the right angle to reveal the blind-stamped postmark as a shiny circle.  The circle is shiny because its ever-so-slightly raised surface is more susceptible to rubbing than the rest of the matt surface of the obverse.  Apparently, postcards were inexpensive enough “back in the day” that they were sometimes used as stationery.  It might be fun to see if any of the postcards in your collection have this telltale sign of having been mailed under cover.  (A “cover” is a fancy term for an envelope that has been mailed, since the envelope covers the letter.)  My conjecture is that this postcard was trimmed by the sender so that it would fit in the envelope in which it was mailed. 

The sender, using a fountain pen with black ink, has written the following message: 

I, am sendïng Pa a lovely card to-day.  I, am sorry poor Carrie ïs gone.  And a hard horse master, Clark knows him well for he keeps him in Hay. 

This leaves Violet in Bed with a bad sore-throat & taking 3 kinds of medicine.  Hope Evelyne wïll soon be better.  I, am making the Girls light blue silk dresses for X’mas night to speak in.  Grace. 

Grace is most likely of German extraction, since she uses the umlaut diacritical mark over the letter “i” three times.  Her reference to Christmas indicates that the message was probably written in late November or in the month of December before the 25th.  However, the year the message was written remains a mystery, although it is very likely to have been written between 1907 and 1917.  This time frame is based on these parameters:  Divided back postcard, one cent domestic postage, and lack of white border around the obverse. 

Would anyone care to hazard a guess as to whether Grace was left- or right-handed? 

The Williamson Building, which the U. S. Postal Card Club called its home, was born with the 1900s, having been started in April, 1899 and completed one year later.  It was 17 stories tall, and was the headquarters of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, among other prestigious tenants, per the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History (link will open in a new window). <Begin funny thought>  A person having business for the first time with the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland inquires at the front desk of the Williamson Building for its location.  The receptionist replies:  “The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland?  It is located on the fifth floor, just down the hall from the U. S. Postal Card Club.” <End funny thought>   The Williamson Building was sited on Public Square in the heart of downtown Cleveland, Ohio, and is called “the monumental gateway to Euclid Avenue” by the encyclopedia cited above.  The building was demolished in 1982, but there are undoubtedly many postcard views that picture it. 

The most intriguing aspect of this postcard is the U. S. Postal Card Club.  I could find NO online information about this club, nor any info about the Levaur Lithographic Post Card Company publisher.  Any information on the Levaur Lithographic Post Card Company and the U. S. Postal Card Club would be most welcome.  Also, it might be fun as well as instructive to browse through your collection for postcards bearing any of the forty obverse messages that were available from the Club! 

This BLANCHE postcard is being submitted to the Festival of Postcards, coordinated by Evelyn Yvonne Theriault, since the theme of this Festival is “white.”  Please do view the dazzling array of entries at Festival of Postcards (6th Ed.) – White!

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