“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!
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?
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.
Turning the card over, I discovered this:
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!
Dear Cousin, We arrived home safe and it has been winter ever since. Old Santa is coming to our church Friday eve. and we are anxious to see him. Come out and see us and we will take a sleighride. ~Ivan Vannroy
A happy Christmas “meow” to you! The lightly embossed kittens send young Donald Minor of Greene County, Pennsylvania wishes for a joyous Christmastide. The publisher’s mark is right below the right kitty and reads “Painting only. Copyrighted by S. Garre, New York 1909.” Small print on the back indicates that the Series #1064 postcard was printed in Germany.
The note’s salutation led me on a goose-chase to find the connection between Donald and Ivan. The postmark is stamped Tama, Iowa, December 22, 11 am, 1909. While some Pennsylvania Minors migrated west to Ohio, Illinois and Iowa in the mid-1800s, I haven’t seen the name Vannroy in any family documents.
Finally, exasperated, I took the shortcut offered at the Thomas Minor (The Immigrant) Society web page, searching the site by surname. Within the descendant surname list I spotted the family name: VANNOY. When I plugged this spelling into Ancestry’s search engine I confirmed the Thomas Minor Society’s information.
The Story Unfolds
Francis Marion Minor had three children older than Donald’s father, Robert. John P. was the eldest, then Olfred (whose son Carl also wrote to Donald), then there was Sarah Priscilla. Sarah married Mark Herrington and had Beatrice Jane. Beatrice Jane married John Vannoy and had little Ivan in 1906. They are cited as living in Tama, Iowa in the 1910 census.
Behind this pair of kitten’s lies a family story wherein Sarah’s daughter Beatrice marries and moves west to Iowa. In the fall of 1909 Bedie traveled home with her family, including young Ivan, returning to Iowa before winter set in. The Christmas kittens were then sent in three-year-old Ivan’s name to six-year-old Donald, the cousin with whom he had played during his Pennsylvania visit.
A Merry Christmas on this eleventh day of my Minor Postcard Advent Calendar! 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.