'Tis the season for serious Santa Claus postcard collectors to scoop up cards like this one that popped up on eBay. In this card, Old Saint Nick features a purple suit and fuzzy beard in this card printed in Germany.
According to the seller, it is postally unused and has a divided back with just a name written on it. "You couldn't find a better looking Santa Claus," says the unbiased seller. And who am I to argue?
Today, the ephemera blog is playing host to Lois Kathryn Herr author of "Dear Coach: Letters Home from WWII". The postcard featured in this post appears within the book. The postcard was sent to Elizabethtown College to Coach Ira Herr by four of his athletes in 1946. What makes this postcard especially unique is that the boys weren't going off to serve as soldiers or pilots, but instead as Civilian volunteers. Coming from a brethren founding, Elizabethtown College saw its fair share of conscientious objectors finding their own unique way of serving their country during WWII.
Will be signed to QueensVictory ship in about 1/2 hr! Going to BremenHaven, Germanywith horses. Hoping to see you soon. (We got a good Basketball team here) all present, past and future stars.
Matt Meyer, Guy Buch, Walt Gingrich, and Frank Keath
Civilian volunteers Matt Meyer, Guy Buch, Walt Gingrich, and Frank Keath cast off for Bremen Haven, Germany, on the relief ship, Queen's Victory. Their job is to care for the 785 pregnant horses on board bound for Czechoslovakia.
This peaceful mission in the summer of 1946 comes about because the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) wants to send livestock to Europe to replenish herds killed during the war. UNRRA needs "seagoing cowboys" to care for the horses and turns to the Brethren Service Committee to find students from the Brethren colleges who are willing to help the Merchant Marines transport the horses. The four athletes send a postcard as they depart.
To read more about what the athletes of Elizabethtown College, Pa had to say to their Coach during their times of conflict, change and exploration brought about by WWII visit the author Lois Herr's website.
For more virtual book tour stops with fresh new content from "Dear Coach" visit the official blog.
When I think of the Jolly Joker, I think of Sargent Schultz's oft-used refrain on the old Hogan's Heroes TV show, not Dante. But then, one could argue that I'm a philistine. That aside, I'm featuring what I believe is a really cool set of rarely seen Dante playing cards from Piatnick (made for Italy, circa 1920). And where would you find these cards? eBay of course. According to the eBay seller, the deck is complete with 52 cards + 2 rare Jokers in excellent condition.
Durante degli Alighieri commonly known as Dante, was an Italian poet of the Middle Ages. His central work, the Divina Commedia, is considered by many to be the greatest literary work composed in the Italian language and a masterpiece of world literature. In Italy he is known as "the Supreme Poet" or just il Poeta. (Thank you, Wikipedia.)
Where else but the ephemera blog would you find Dante and Hogan's Heroes referenced in the same breath? Maybe that's why ephemera won BlogAsheville's 2009 most under-rated blog award.
This Torquay Health Resort postcard from 1895 is said to be the earliest picture postcard recorded for the town according to the eBay seller offering it.
The listing goes on to state: "Court-size card with the date 1895 incorporated in the multiple vignette design, signed by the artist, A.S. Couche of Exeter. Depicts Chapel Hill, Anstis Cove, Harbour, and Rock Walk. Attractively lithographed on pale blue card by the well-known Devon printer, J. Townsend of Exeter. The postcard publicizes Torquay's resort's low death rate; its warm climate; and, principal hotels and sporting activities.
Although the Torquay Health Resort postcard is unused, the printed date clearly establishes its status as Torquay's earliest picture postcard (see the listing of earliest recorded dates in The Picture Postcard Annual). The fact that the card was designed and printed in Exeter--some two years before the earliest recorded date for that city--also makes it of interest to collectors of Exeter postcards. Privately published postcards had been allowed through the post at the reduced halfpenny rate only since 1st September 1894."
Why do people write postcards? What do they write? Who do they send them to? Is it possible that the answers to these questions can tell us more about the human experience? I am dying to find out. My name is Evan MacDonald, and I am a graphic designer/student pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts at BYU-Idaho. OnePostcard is my latest project; it is a synthesis of research and design. I am a design student who cares about more than just images. I care about people, and what drives us to do what we do.
This project is about people and how we interact. I am conducting a simple survey and taking some time to analyze actual postcards. I am interested in how many words fit onto a postcard, what are the significant messages that we chose to cram onto half of a paper rectangle. When and why do we send them? Who do we send them to?
If you would like to participate, there are a number of things you can do:
Upload some postcards. Take pictures or scan them and provide both sides (I am most interested in the messages). Any personal information, addresses, etc., will be censored. Take the survey. Tell people about the project.
Please a part of this project; it is nothing without people and artifacts. Visit onepostcard.com for more information.
Nine thousand picture postcards amassed by American photographer Walker Evans (1903–1975) are among the fascinating works in The Walker Evans Archive, acquired by The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1994. Walker Evans and the Picture Postcard, to be presented at the Museum from February 3 through May 25, 2009, will be a dynamic installation of hundreds of these postcards from Evans's collection, which he built and refined over the course of 60 years. The direct influence of the postcard on his pictorial style will be demonstrated with the inclusion of a small group of Evans's own photographs, also from the Museum's collection.
Walker Evans was the progenitor of the documentary style in American photography, and he argued that picture postcard captured a part of America that was not recorded in any other medium. In the early 20th century, picture postcards, sold in five-and-dime stores across America, depicted small towns and cities with realism and hometown pride—whether the subject was a local monument, a depot, or a coal mine.
Evans wrote of his collection: "The very essence of American daily city and town life got itself recorded quite inadvertently on the penny picture postcards of the early 20th century.…Those honest direct little pictures have a quality today that is more than mere social history.…The picture postcard is folk document."
Walker Evans and the Picture Postcard is the first exhibition to focus primarily on works drawn from The Walker Evans Archive. The installation is designed to convey the incredible range of his collection and to reflect the eclectic and obsessional ways in which the artist organized his picture postcards. For example, Evans methodically classified his collection into dozens of subject categories, such as "American Architecture," "Factories," "Automobiles," "Street Scenes," "Summer Hotels," "Lighthouses," "Outdoor Pleasures," "Madness," and "Curiosities."
For Evans, the appeal of the postcards lay in their commonplace subjects, the humble quality of the pictures, and the uninfected style, which he borrowed for his own work with the camera. The exhibition will include about a dozen of Evans' well-known photographs that he turned into postcards. To create each of these works, Evans printed a portion of one of his large-format negatives on postcard-format photographic paper. Through the juxtapositions presented in the exhibition, Evans' photographs seem as anonymous, straightforward, and sincere as the picture postcards he so admired.
Photographs from the Walker Evans archive, Metropolitan Museum of Art
I Am Thankful, run by a fellow Ashevillian, is a blog dedicated to the practice of gratitude. In this time of economic strife, it's sometimes helps to be grateful for what we have—family, friends, the beauty and splendor of Asheville—and not what we've lost (namely retirement money and lots of it).
I Am Thankful created an art postcard project—for groups, classrooms, organizations, etc.—which encourages folks to show their thanks.
According to the instructions on the site, "Use a simple post card (it can even be one that already has a picture on it), paint it, collage, write, express creatively what you are thankful for. Put all your love into it and take a quiet minute to give thanks, feel how much you appreciate what you are describing. Your creation will be displayed on the web to send a ripple of gratitude through the universe to inspire others."
If you decide to participate, tell them the ephemera blog sent you.
Once upon a time in America, people could afford to drive large, gas-guzzling automobiles hither and yon on what was known as "a family vacation." This concept is totally foreign to me. But I understand from reading history books that upon these journeys, Americans stayed in motels like the Tropic-Air in Clearwater, Florida.
I have some personal history in Clearwater. For the past five years or so, I've spent Thanksgiving Day in Clearwater with my wife's family. For me, nothing says Thanksgiving like 80-degree temperatures and bikinis. However, my purpose today isn't to extol the virtues of eating turkey, stuffing, and all the other holiday trimmings on a Florida patio in the baking sun. Instead, I'm paying homage to the wonderful ephemera collecting sub-genre of motel postcards and all things motel Americana.
I've touched upon this subject in earlier posts. And, for a in-depth look at collecting motel ephemera, read my interview with Andrew Wood. For those interested in building a motel postcard collection, cards can be had relatively cheaply on eBay. And there's even a Flickr group dedicated to the subject.
For total immersion, you'll want to read Gas, Food, and Lodging: A Postcard Odyssey Through the Great American Roadside.
My interview with Andrew Wood, motel postcard collector and co-author of Motel America: A State-By-State Tour Guide to Nostalgic Stopovers, spawned a great question from a loyal reader. Andrew was kind enough to post a response to the question in the comment section of the original post, but I thought it might be missed by a lot of people, so I've decided to feature the exchange here. I think a lot postcard collectors would benefit from Andrew's insightful answer to Michelle's great question.
I enjoyed reading about your postcard collection. I'm also a postcard collector, but have never branched into motel postcards. A couple of questions for you: Are there any particular features that would distinguish a motel postcard as a great postcard versus a so-so one? You mentioned the Coral Court postcard in your collection--are postcards of motels that no longer exist more desirable from a collecting standpoint than postcards of motels that are still standing? Great interview!
I appreciate your questions. To me, motel postcards gain value (an entirely arbitrary distinction, in my opinion) based on a number of factors. Is the architecture unique? One may find countless numbers of I-shaped or L-shaped motels. But how many motels seek to convey some sense of the local vernacular architecture, with designs such as adobe missions or teepees? I prize those motel postcards. I also search for cards with interesting design features, such as pull-out close-ups of signs. A part-time student of graphic design, I get a kick out of those details. Motel cards that feature other types of roadside Americana tend to be valuable. Thus a card that depicts a motel *and* a gas station or a diner will likely be worth more than a card that shows a motel only. Cards with clearly delineated automobiles can sometimes fetch a bit more, since those items are doubly interesting to both motel and car-buffs. Cards with evocative writing on the back often draw my attention. I love "vacation messages" that convey a sense of time and place that would otherwise be lost. I'll pay a bit more for those items. Also, I'm a sucker for linen cards. There's something about the saturation and texture that chrome can't replicate. So I'm always willing to pay a bit more for a decent quality linen. Finally, of course, are the names. Cards that feature well-known names, The Blue Swallow, the Coral Court, the Munger Moss, and the like, almost inevitably cost more than generic "sunset" motels and "capri" motels. I emphasize, though, what you already know. Value is idiosyncratic. I have cards that mean a great deal to me simply because I enjoyed my visits to those properties or can remember a great conversation with the person who sold them to me. Thus any attempt to quantity "value" is fraught with difficulty. One other thing, Michele, absolutely: a card featuring a lost motel, one razed for a housing development, for example, certainly increases in value.
Search Abebooks for the books listed in this post.