The Old Wish At Christmas

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Ahhh, another Christmas card from my favorite unknown artist! Again no date, jeesh! This one is signed  “Mildred & Meade.”  Yep, one might think this couple’s name would help narrow down the date, since Meade is not a common first name. But as it turns out, there are quite a number of “Mildred and Meades” showing up all over the United States. Anyway, this is a beautiful little card. The small design at the top is done in red, gold and black. It shows a partial scene of a stone cottage, with red roof and rounded door. Birds are in flight, and if this is a seaside cottage then we’re seeing golden waves in the background. In the foreground we see a woman in mid-19th century dress hurrying toward her destination, with her long scarf flying behind her. The scene is bordered with a sort of Art Nouveau styled red line which mimics the line of the cottage. The verse states:


No words can keep our hearts as young

As these which ring on every tongue,


The other two similar cards that we have on this website are listed under the Charles Jarchow and May Your Christmas Be Merry posts.

Christmas card, circa 1910s – 1930s. Artist unknown.  Size:  About 4 and 7/8 x 3 and 7/8″

Price:  $15.00

God Jul!

God Jul pc1God Jul pc2

Well, it’s two days after Christmas but it’s still the holiday season. Here’s a vintage Whitney Made postcard in Swedish showing (after the phrase God Jul! – Merry Christmas!) the verse from a song, along with a Christmas tree and an evergreen in the moonlight scene.

“God Jul!

Var hälsad sköna morgonstund,

Som af profeters helga mun

Är oss bebådad vorden!

Du stora dag, du sälla dag,

På hvilken himlens välbehag

Ännu besöker jorden!”

The song is attributed to German Lutheran pastor, poet and composer Philipp Nicolai (1556 – 1608.)  This information was found thanks to the website Projekt Runeberg, which has a page showing the sheet music and additional verses. A simple online translation will not do the verse justice. We’d be happy to get a real translation from someone!

Divided back, embossed, unused postcard. Publisher:  Whitney Made, Worcester, Mass. Circa 1910s – 1920s.

Price:  $6.00

Sources:  “Svenska Missionförbundets sängbok.”  Projekt Runeberg. Web accessed December 27, 2014. []

Philipp Nicolai. n.d. (accessed December 27, 2014).

Merry Christmas To Grace Baldwin From Irene Ockerson

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Here’s an absolutely wonderful Christmas postcard from 1906 that has a good luck theme. It’s not the first that we’ve encountered having what would today seem to be the unlikely combination of yuletide and luck:  Here’s another great example. Anyway, I guess we could describe the central design of this card as a Christmas ornament:  It’s of a silver four-leaf clover suspended inside a round flattened silver piece that has a horseshoe design imprinted on it. Fastened at the top is a long red ribbon done up in a bow, unfurling and artistically framing the ornament. The cursive “Merry Christmas”  greeting is embossed in green, and the background in tan with a greenish hue shows a subtle diamond-shaped or lattice-work style pattern. A very elegant card! The clover is the most heavily embossed and is especially beautiful. The postcard is signed on the front by the sender, Irene Ockerson, who mailed it from Red Oak, Iowa, to  “Miss Grace Baldwin, Santa Cruz, California.”

Irene Ockerson was born in Iowa, about 1878, of Swedish-born parents Daniel J. Ockerson and Christine (Olsen) Ockerson. The 1880 Federal Census for Red Oak shows Daniel, age 42, occupation Laborer, Christine, age 34; their children Carl L., age 10, Florence, age 8, Irene, age 2; and sister-in-law to Daniel, Hannah Olsen, age 24, born in Sweden. Carl, the oldest child, was born in Illinois, while the girls were born in Iowa.

So, Irene would have been about 28 years old when she sent this postcard to Grace who would have been age 31. The 1900 census for Santa Cruz, shows Grace, age 24, born in California, November 1875, occupation School Teacher, living with her parents and brothers at 155 Locust St. A quick look at city directories shows Grace living at this address at least through 1917. The ’17 directory shows she was teaching at Mission Hill School. The 1900 census shows her living with her parents, who are age 53, born in Massachusetts, Fred D. Baldwin, occupation Farmer, and Mary A. Baldwin; and younger brothers, Arnold M., age 17, occupation Messenger Boy, and Rosco R. Baldwin, age 16 and in school.

From the multilingual back header, and the fact that it’s a divided back in 1906, we see that this card was not printed in the United States. Stamped in blue, above the header, is  “Stone Lithograph.”  What a wonderful thing to have a description of how the card was made actually included on the card; this is the first postcard, marked as such, that we’ve come across. See this Wiki entry on lithography for a detailed description. The publisher initials on the bottom left appear to be “B.K.W.I.” However, according to the excellent website The Postcard Album, this is publisher Brueder Kohn of Wien (Vienna, Austria). What appears to be the initial “I” is actually the Latin “1” which indicates the downtown Vienna postal district.

Lastly, we won’t go into any searching for a prior owner of this card, but we see that it was once in the collection of a Mr. Peter Barrale, who must also have treasured it.

Divided back, embossed, used postcard. Postmarked December 19, 1906 from Red Oak, Iowa. Publisher info:  B.K.W.I. No. 2651. (Brueder Kohn, Vienna, post office 1.)

Price:  $20.00

Sources:  Year: 1880; Census Place: Red Oak, Montgomery, Iowa; Roll: 357; Family History Film: 1254357; Page: 310C; Enumeration District: 145; Image: 0621. (

Year: 1900; Census Place: Santa Cruz Ward 3, Santa Cruz, California; Roll: 112; Page: 20B; Enumeration District: 0090; FHL microfilm: 1240112. (

Santa Cruz County Directory, 1916-1917. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989.

Lithography. n.d. (accessed December 26, 2014).

“Postcard Printer & Publisher Research.”  The Postcard Album. Web accessed December 26, 2014. []

A Merry Christmas To Mr. Frank Paul

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Here’s a lovely card with Christmas bells and holly, and “framed” scene of a home at sunset in winter. I like how the greeting is two-toned in red and gold, and the rustic (this word is starting to be used a lot here at Laurel Cottage) gold border, which does not appear to be meant to represent birch bark, but reminds me of it nonetheless. The card is addressed to:  “Mr. Frank Paul, Kimbal & Wabansia Ave., Chicago Ill.”

The sender wrote:  “Merry Xmas and a happy New Year to you and the bunch. A. F. Kreft. P.O. Box 1414. Vancouver B.C.”

A.F. Kreft was found on the 1911 Canadian Census for Vancouver:  Albert F. Kreft, born in the United States, November of 1878 or ’79, year of immigration 1910; wife Martha, born December 1884, also in the U.S., year of immigration the same. Arthur’s occupation is difficult to read (photo bug? ha ha, nooo…photo eng? Yes.) The 1910 U.S. Federal Census for Sheboygan, Wisconsin shows this couple, both born in Illinois. Albert’s occupation is listed as Photo Engraver, and he is working for a photo engraving company. His WWI Draft Registration card (1918) shows that at that time he and Martha were living in Chicago, his middle name is Frederick, and he was working for the Columbian Engraving Company. Martha’s maiden name is Laser per an family tree reference, which is funny since decades later engraving is often done with lasers.

The addressee was found on the 1910 census for Chicago:  Frank Paul and wife Rose, both born about 1844; and their children, Frank, Jr., Tony, Josephine and Joseph. All born in Austria, year of immigration 1888. Frank is a saloon keeper, Frank Jr. (age 22) is a bar tender, Tony (age 17) a bookkeeper, and Josephine (age 15) a milliner, working at a store. (Wow, every one is working except for the youngest, who is thirteen. Of course, Rose is working in the home.) The house number is not given but appears to have been on N. Kimball Ave. at the cross street of W. Wabansia Ave.

Divided back, embossed, used postcard. Postmarked December 19, 1912 from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Publisher unknown.

Price:  $15.00

Sources:  Year: 1911; Census Place: Vancouver City, Vancouver, British Columbia; Page: 5; Family No: 46. (

Year: 1910; Census Place: Sheboygan Ward 3, Sheboygan, Wisconsin; Roll: T624_1739; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 0111; FHL microfilm: 1375752. (

 Registration State: Illinois; Registration County: Cook; Roll: 1504078; Draft Board: 84. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. (


Year: 1910; Census Place: Chicago Ward 27, Cook, Illinois; Roll: T624_271; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 1211; FHL microfilm: 1374284. (

To Ella From Ed

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Divided back, artist-signed, used postcard. Postmarked December 23rd, year unknown. Circa 1915 – 1916 or 1919 – 1921. Publisher:  Stecher Lithograph Company, Rochester, New York. Series 726F.

Price:  $15.00

“Merry Christmas

Your Christmas be a happy one

Bestowing for your good

Much merryment and rare content

Just as a Christmas should.”

Here’s an adorable little lady in mid-19th century dress, carrying presents and a wreath made of holly. Besides the wreath’s berries, the ribbons and bows are in red, as is her bonnet’s ostrich plume, and the card’s border. Next to her, on our left is what appears to be the artist’s logo; it’s quite unusual, and is nothing resembling a signature. We’d presume it to be from the artist, as the publisher logo appears in the bottom left corner of the card, showing a copyright mark for Stecher Lithograph Company, Rochester, New York.

This is another card in the Alice Ellison Collection, and is addressed to “Miss Ella Ellison, 1314 F St, Sacramento, Cal.”  The postmark year got left off in the cancellation process, but shows it was sent from Auburn, California on December 23rd. We have others  that were sent to Ella at this address between 1915 and 1921, but since the stamp is a one-cent, the estimated date would be 1915 – 1916 and 1919 – 1921, as during WWI the stamp price had been raised to two cents.

Unknown artist logo for publisher Stecher Lithograph Company.

Artist Logo For Stecher Litho Co

J. E. Allen & Sons Trade Card

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“Compliments of J. E. Allen & Sons. No. 16 N. Third St., Harrisburg, PA.”

Here’s a beautiful trade card for the winter season:  a country scene in brown and white on gray; showing a man driving a two-horse drawn sled which is hauling some very large logs. They are driving past a large windmill, appearing on their left. The road is bordered by a rustic wooden fence, and there are some trees and buildings in the background; note the church steeple. The back of the card has a beautifully delicate design, which is a partial border around the message:

“Go to ALLEN & SONS. No. 16 North Third Street, Harrisburg, Pa. For Fine Confections, Fruits, Nuts, &c. ORDER YOUR HOLIDAY CAKES FROM THEM. A Specialty Made of Fruit Cake. The Largest and Finest Stock of TOYS in the City.”

Imagine being able to go back in time to this store, especially just before Christmas!

J.E. Allen & Sons was John E. Allen, and sons James C. and George. The 1880 Federal Census for Harrisburg shows:  John E. Allen, born about 1825; his wife Frances E., born about 1834; son’s George, born about 1856; James C., born about 1858; daughter Mary E., born about 1862; son Charles E., born about 1865; and Rosanna Paul, occupation servant, born about 1827. All in the household are Pennsylvania natives except for Frances, who is native to New York. Occupations for John E. Allen and sons George and James C. are listed as baker. City directories found online for this company are running from 1876 – 1882.

Trade card, circa 1876 – 1882.   Size:  4 and 1/2 x 2 and 1/2″

Price:  $15.00

Sources: Boyd’s Harrisburg City Directory, 1876 – 1877. p. 81. ( U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989)

Boyd’s Harrisburg “Telegraph” Directory, 1882 – 1884. p. 343. ( U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989)

Year: 1880; Census Place: Harrisburg, Dauphin, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1123; Family History Film: 1255123; Page: 193A; Enumeration District: 087; Image: 0389 (

Somewhere In France

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Real Photo Postcard, undivided back. “Carte Postale. Ce côté est exclusivement réservée à l’adresse.” Photographer and publisher unknown logos showing RPH and PMM. Series L.B. 7592. Circa 1900 – 1904.

Price:  $10.00

True, the beautiful wintertime photo used for this postcard may have been taken somewhere other than France. But I’ve (internally) given it the above title every time I’ve looked at it, so…. It’s a postcard produced from a real photo, but with publisher and possibly the photographer logo, and a series number at the bottom right; so, a commercial type of Real Photo Postcard. It shows a farmhouse, with rustic wooden fence, woodpile, a couple of deciduous trees in the foreground, a wood of evergreens in the background, and last but not least a woman out working in her garden. The ground, the tree branches, some farm implements next to the fence, and of course, the rooftops, are all blanketed with snow. Maybe it is late autumn with an early snowfall, or early spring with snow on the ground still. But what vegetable would she hoeing?

The logos – one on the front and other on the back – are from an as-of-yet unidentified publisher and photographer, we presume, but which would be which is also unknown.

RPH Logo   “P” and an “H” inside a larger “R.” We’ll call it RPH.

PMM Logo  Larger “P” and smaller double “M” in a circle. We’ll call it PMM.


Merry Christmas To Mrs. Louise Franzel

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This is an intriguing postcard:  The sender wrote her message in German in very small writing, starting at the top of the bell, and continuing on all of the holly leaves. I think the message needs to be translated by someone fluent in German, as the writing is just too small to make out without one being already familiar with the language. It starts out  “Liebe Louise,”  (Dear Louise.) After that, yikes! But how very skillful of the sender! On the card is printed,  “A Merry Christmas,”  and then the sender wrote,  “for my dear friend Louise with love from Emma.”  The top right holly leaf contains the address, “New York, 1[??] W. 45th St.”  Too bad the full street number got smudged.

Searching for Emma in the city directories on in Manhattan, with a keyword of “W. 45 St.” and with a street number in the 100 range, did not bring up any matches. The next possibility would be to search for the Enumeration District for the census records of 1900 or 1910, for W. 45th Street. Fortunately, there is an excellent website that helps us narrow down the EDs. Click here to search the site. Searching for 100 – 199 W. 45th St. in Manhattan shows eleven EDs for the 1900 Federal Census and ten for the 1910. So, without knowing the exact street number, it would be a long and tedious search process, unless one were to get lucky and hit on the right ED early on. We’ll leave the search for the sender then and move on to the addressee:  “Mrs. P. Franzel, 323 Marguerite Ave, Portland, Ore.”

This one was easy:  Peter and Louise Franzel and their daughter Louise V. Franzel show up at the above address on the 1910 Federal Census for Portland. They were not living at that address on the 1900. The couple are listed as born in Austria, Peter in about 1869 and Louise in about 1879. Daughter Louise, who is ten months old, was born in Oregon, about June 1909, as the census was taken in April. Peter’s occupation is Cement Contractor, his immigration year is 1881, and the couple has been married about three years, so they must have been married in 1906, since the card is dated that year. A search for the marriage shows the date as October 30th. Finding Louise’s maiden name was a little tricky, as it turned out there was a typo for her first name in the index, showing “Souise.” But she is Louise A. Kisswetter. (A correction was submitted in

Undivided back, embossed, used postcard. Publisher unknown. Outgoing postmark December 24, 1906 from New York, New York. Incoming postmark December 28, 1906 in Portland, Oregon.

Price:  $15.00

Sources:  Year: 1910; Census Place: Portland Ward 7, Multnomah, Oregon; Roll: T624_1288; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 0187; FHL microfilm: 1375301. (

Oregon State Library; Oregon Marriage Indexes, 1906-2006; Reel: 1; Years: 1906-1910. (

A Christmas Wish

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Divided back, artist-signed, used postcard, embossed border. Artist and publisher unknown. Postmarked December 16th, year unknown. Sent from Dover, Massachusetts? Circa 1910 – 1920.

Price:  $15.00

“A Merry Christmas and a

Happy New Year, Your Pockets

full of Money and your Hearts full of Cheer.”

Here’s a stunning card; the colors are gorgeous! (I love the pale pink and orange variation of the upper background.) It shows a mother, father and daughter, all very fashionably dressed; time-frame about mid-19th century; on their way, with wrapped presents in hand, to bring the above good wishes and cheer for Christmas. This appears to be an artist-signed card that would have been produced from a painting or drawing (how to determine the artist’s media?) however the signature, at the bottom right, is not readable. The family has that look of being “caught on camera,” as if this were a photo. As for the date of the card, the postmarked year is missing. Hopefully the addressee’s information will be able to reveal a likely time-frame. The card is addressed to:  “Mrs. L. Estelle SinClair, Pleasantdon, California.”

According to the 1920 Federal Census, Louise E. Sin Clair, born about 1883 in Massachusetts, was married to Rutherford F. Sin Clair, born about 1882 in Canada, occupation carpenter. They were living in Pleasanton on Pleasantree Avenue at this time. The 1930 census shows the couple have an adopted 8-year-old son, Gordan Sinclair, born in California. On the 1930 Rutherford R. is now listed as Frederick R. Sinclair, (a very common occurrence for the middle and first names to show up as switched around at various times) and his occupation is building contractor. The message from the sender reveals, heart-breakingly, that Estelle had lost a child, and that Cora was offering her support and caring wishes, would write a letter and was also sending a little present. Per the 1910 Federal Census the couple was residing in Pleasanton, so this postcard is probably from about 1910 – 1920.

The couple’s record of marriage shows that Frederick Rutherford Sinclair and Louise Estelle Jewett were married September 1, 1909 in Ipswich, Massachusetts. The groom was born in Scotch Ridge, New Brunswick and his parents were Dougald B. Sinclair and Margaret Babb. The bride was born in Ipswich, and her parents were Stephen Jewett and Mary E. Hall.

Sources:  Year: 1910; Census Place: Pleasanton, Alameda, California; Roll: T624_72; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 0153; FHL microfilm: 1374085. (

Year: 1920; Census Place: Pleasanton, Alameda, California; Roll: T625_92; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 207; Image: 369. (

Year: 1930; Census Place: Pleasanton, Alameda, California; Roll: 112; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 0340; Image: 131.0; FHL microfilm: 2339847. (

“Massachusetts, Marriages, 1841-1915,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 16 December 2014), Frederick Rutherford Sinclair and Louise Estelle Jewett, 01 Sep 1909; citing p 464 no 63, Ipswich, , Massachusetts, State Archives, Boston; FHL microfilm 2,315,509.

A Winter Pose

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The style of Cyko stamp box on this Real Photo Postcard dates this one, since it is a divided back, around 1907 – 1920s, but I would estimate it to be older than the 1920s. It shows a young woman either in a long fitted coat, or long skirt and jacket. It’s hard to say, since the skirt appears to be a little bit paler in color than the jacket, or is that just an effect of the light? The outfit is very striking due to it’s enormous white fur collar, and matching muff, along with matching hat placed atop her Gibson-girl hairstyle. She is smiling and posing for the camera, standing outside in a snow-covered countryside setting, with some bare-branched trees in the background.

Divided back, unused,  Real Photo Postcard. Cyko stamp box. Circa 1907 – 1910s.

Price:  $5.00