We are always buying postcards and photos from before 1950 - email us at circa1910@tampabay.rr.com.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Greetings by TELEPHONE Postcards

This post focuses on the way telephones entered postcard art - in holiday and greeting postcards of all kinds. Above we see a pretty little girl sending birthday wishes by telephone - on a postcard.  While the popularity of the telephone grew, we imagine that 100 years ago, as today, nothing was more pleasurable than finding a real piece of mail delivered by the postman. 

Busy Santa loved the invention of the telephone - there are many wonderful fantasy designs of him using the telephone to confirm who was naughty or nice, keeping in touch with his little charges, or to send holiday greetings.  We show some examples here on embossed Christmas postcards.  The first card shown is published by Whitney.
The last image here is from a series of Santa with technological marvels of the early 1900s - this card is very popular, as is the one of him with a gramophone.  Rich, detailed embossing add to the charm and value.  Of course, Santa was not the only one who could send Christmas greetings via telephone.  Here is a 1920s little girl calling up her friends with warm wishes.

Like automobiles, early telephones were props in photo studios of the time, and you could have your up-to-date portrait taken with telephone in hand, whether you had service at home or not.
European real photo greeting postcards featured children with telephones like this bright-eyed little girl.  The "French" phone which had both the speaker and the receiver in the handset came later to the U.S. than it did to Europe, but this girl has an unusual phone of several parts!


We enjoy "floral objects" and especially like the ones showing modern technological developments.  Here is a pretty and richly embossed forget-me-not telephone.  The telephone could be used to convey a wide range of greetings, and postcards reflected that variety.  The little boy below has a straightforward message he's sending by telephone.

Christmas was not the only holiday that found the telephone in the design.  Frances Brundage drew several New Year postcards of men and women with telephones, and here is a vivid pair of signed Ellen H. Clapsaddle St. Patrick's day postcards.

This card is an example of a fantasy Easter postcard from one of our favorite series.  The cards are beautifully embossed and may be the unsigned artwork of Ellen H. Clapsaddle.  In each design, chicks run an egg warehouse office where a telephone is displayed.  Is he taking an order?  Love the Records book he holds under his wing, and the other office details in these images.   

Who needs a telephone most?  The newly-arrived, of course!  Here's an unusual birth announcement with Baby delivering all the pertinent data via telephone.  The copyright date on this colorful flat card is 1908.   Below is the signed artwork of Archie Gunn -the pretty flirtatious lady on this flat postcard is Miss Chicago.

The last card in this post shows how convenient the telephone was for advancing a person's romantic life.  The lady is holding a photograph, so apparently this is the way some dating was handled 100 years ago - with a photo sent thru the mail, followed up by a telephone call.  Questions arise:  How did he get her name and address if they have never met? We were aware of "mail-order brides" but this seems different - if you know anything about this early 1900s dating practice, we would love to hear about it!

Price Estimates:  Telephone postcards have a wide variety of designs and prices.  Holiday cards will cost more, in most cases, than birthday or greeting cards.  Real photo postcards will be priced according to the detail and quality of the photograph, plus the identification of the location.  In this post, the Santa cards are the most expensive at about $12 - $20 each. 

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