Saturday, September 28, 2013
FRED HARVEY U.S. Entrepreneur Phostint Postcards
Fred Harvey, born in 1835, was a marketing genius who created the first restaurant chain in the United States, the Harvey Houses. He promoted tourism in the late 1800s and early 1900s throughout the American Southwest by providing clean, reliable restaurants that tourists felt comfortable visiting. (Have you seen Judy Garland in the movie celebrating the Harvey House restaurants?) Harvey also developed hotels and tourist shops in the region, providing tourists with a full vacation experience. With beautiful Phostint postcards published by Detroit Publishing, he promoted tourism in the region and educated the public at the same time. Below is the information printed on the back of the postcard of the Hopi House above. The opinions about Native American culture reflect the ideas of the time!
The Detroit Publishing company was founded by William A. Livingstone and photographer Edwin H. Husher in the late 1800s, calling itself the Detroit Publishing Company in 1905. Their "Phostint" postcards combine gorgeous images and color palettes ideal for southwestern landscapes. Although Fred Harvey postcards were also published during the later "linen" era of postcards, this post focuses on the earlier Detroit Phostints exclusively. All the postcards in this post are flat images.
Below are some New Mexico hotel views on Fred Harvey Phostint postcards. Note the proximity to the railroad lines.
Much of the Fred Harvey tourist business was devoted to promoting visits to Native American sites - here is a view of a New Mexico Pueblo and a Hopi Dance in Arizona.
A description shown below right is printed on the back of the postcard showing a "Hopi Belle."
The Fred Harvey business stayed in the family and survived until the 1960s. Fred Harvey postcards, (both Phostints and linens) capture an era in the settling of the U.S. southwest. While some Harvey descriptions may seem dated now, they illustrate the views from 50 - 100 years ago. It might be said that Fred Harvey tamed the Wild West, making it familiar enough for tourists to explore. These postcards offer an historically intriguing and visually arresting glimpse into that bygone time.
PRICE ESTIMATES: Fred Harvey postcards vary in price with image. Those that include pictures of people bring higher prices than those strictly limited to landscapes or buildings. The early Phostints are generally more valuable than the later linens, except for the Fred Harvey linen travel maps, which are actively sought. Fred Harvey postcards can still be purchased from about $6 - $12. Seek them out at shows and you are likely to find some good buys.
These prices are for postcards in EXCELLENT condition, and they are only estimates.