A Merry Christmas! I am so pleased to find among my collection a fine example of a glittered embossed postcard by P. Sander Company. Oh, how I wish I knew the ins and outs of scanning to capture three dimensions, for the publishers of this era worked hard to enhance their cards, simply and cheaply, with embossing–raised areas of the painting that create depth! In this 1906 card the red-breasted songsters are heavily embossed atop a snow-covered fence that is less heavily embossed, quickly drawing your eye to the artist’s main subject. The holly and snow are not only embossed but glittered, giving the impression that the sun may be peaking out between snow bearing clouds. In the silver embossed background, a riverside town sits in the muffled, snowy silence. Such a beautiful card! A hand delivered Merry Christmas to four year old Donald Minor from May M.
Hello, Donald, Come on over and we will sled ride. What is Santa Claus going to bring you. ~Carl
This toy-bearing gent is more St. Nicholas than Santa Claus. Influenced by the artist’s Saxon* roots, this illustration depicts a St. Nick clad in heavy black boots and a long, hooded red robe tromping through the snow, his waist-length beard catching the wind. A mittened left hand clasps the fir tree which is big enough that it must stand on the floor in some fortunate home! Under its branches St. Nick will leave dolls and drums pulled from his basket and sack.
Carl Corbly Minor extended his sledding invitation to his five year old cousin, Donald Minor, in December of 1907. The 28 year old son of Alfred (1859-1886) and Anna Minor lived down the road from Robert, May, Helen and Donald, running his family’s farm with his mother and younger brother, Frank M. Imagine these rolling hills of southwestern Pennsylvania covered with a good snowfall. I am certain Donald had a fast trip down!
*Saxony is a southeastern state of current day Germany and is home to Dresden, Leipzig and Seiffen. It is also the home of many Christmas customs, like the Christmas tree.
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.
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.”
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!
*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.