Loving Christmas Wishes – on a Vintage Postcard

Among the postcards in my grandfather’s collection is this lovely set of bells.  They look to be mounted to a doorway, to jingle merrily whenever someone comes in from the snowy cold.  This  card is lightly embossed to give the holly sprigs a bit of dimension. It was sent to six year old Donald Minor by his Aunt Sarah McClure from her home in Carmichaels, Pennyslvania on December 23, 1908.  

One of the most fascinating designs on this card appears in the upper left hand corner – on the back.  The publishers trademark of the International Art Publishing Company is itself a work of art: an eagle sits atop a globe, which is ringed by a painter’s palette and a quiver of paintbrushes.

In the words of Aunt Sarah, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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Bells Are Pealing A Merry Christmas!

What a captivating smile this little boy has!  Across the century I can still feel its warmth.  Silhouetted against an embossed gold bell, the child’s Christmas outfit looks snug and warm, with a red shirt peeking from beneath the green corduroy coat. I would love to have that matching hat with its neatly trimmed brown fur.  

The card was sent from a Morgantown friend or relative to my grandfather, Donald C. Minor.  On December 12, 1909,  Genevia B. wrote:

“Hello, Donald.  This is my Merry Christmas greetings to you. I hope Santa will be good to you.”

 

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May Good Luck and Christmas Greetings Fall Upon You!

Two red-breasted songsters perch on a sprig of holly, which is decorated with a sprig of mistletoe and a golden horseshoe.  This brightly colored card is meant to bring the recipient great cheer, that is for certain.  Published by the New York-based Samuel Langdorf and Company*, number 841 was one of several designs the company printed in Saxony, Germany in 1910.  

Donald C. Minor received this card from his cousin Ralph December 20, 1910. 

“Hello Donal. How are you? What do you want Santa to bring you? I want a gun but mama says i can not have it so I will haft (sic) to take what ever I get. Your friend, Ralph”

There are other postcards from Ralph and his younger brother, Blair, in my grandfather’s postcard collection.  Using the search engine of Ancestry.com I entered Ralph as living in South Connellsville, PA in 1910 with a sibling, Blair.  The return included a interesting match: Ralph Younkin, 10, son of Milton R and May Waychoff Younkin, living with Blair, 8, and grandmother, Jennie Waychoff, in Connellsville, Fayette County, Pennsylvania.  I have researched the Minor family fairly well, and the Younkin surname is unfamiliar.  Donald’s mother is a Stephenson, and I wonder as I research her background if Younkin/Waychoff will show up.  Interesting how a fascination with Christmas postcards intertwines with a family history.  Merry Christmas, indeed!

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*The winged orb on the back of the card is identified by the Metropolitan Postcard Club of New York City as the trademark for Samuel Langford and Company, publishers from 1906-1918.  Accessed on December 16, 2011.

Winter Sprigs Spread Christmas Cheer!

 

“Hello, Donald,” says the a mysterious W.T.G.  “Hope Santa will be kind to you.”  This beautiful card was sent to eight year old Donald C. Minor of Carmichaels, Pennyslvania from a relative or friend in Uniontown, Fayette County, Pennsylvania on December 22, 1910.  It’s a very simple card, with a silver background highlighting the embossed sprigs of holly and mistletoe, Victorian symbols of domestic happiness and affection.  Wishing everyone a simple, happy Christmas holiday!

 

My Fair Lady Wishes You A Happy Christmas!

Sent with no message, December 22, 1909

This fair lady sends greetings for a Happy Christmas. Seven year old Donald C. Minor received this card at Christmastime 1909, and though the painting is not signed, I believe it to be another Ellen H. Clapsaddle card.  Why?

  1. An embossed frame of gold holds the portrait of a sweet young lady, hair swept stylishly up and under a hat bedecked with fresh roses.  A ruffled collar frames a face full of youthful innocence.  Such a joyful illustration of Victorian youth is characteristic of Ellen H. Clapsaddle’s work.
  2. Turning the card over, I discovered this:
  3. The International Art Publishing Company was established in 1895, merging companies formerly run by Messrs. Wolf and Samuel Garre.  Their most prolific artist was Ellen H. Clapsaddle, as I discovered while researching Skating to Greet YOU!, a card also printed in 1909.

Until a collector convinces me otherwise, I stand on my judgement: My Fair Lady is a Clapsaddle original.  Happy Christmas!