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Archive for March, 2010

I came across an interesting message with historical significance on a large letter linen postcard while reacquainting myself with my postcard inventory.  The message on it reads:

Dear Mil & leon:

I bet you were glad to get that pretty apron from Mary.  She’ll start her new job Monday.  She’s going to drive a street car.  We went to the show together today.

Love Geo & Evey

My first reaction was, “a woman street car driver?”  I then noticed the date – March 26, 1943.  This puts the message right in the middle of World War II (1939 -1945).

    

The message is a reminder of the contribution woman made on the home front to fill the gross shortage of manpower created when men went off to fight World War II.  Women were once again given the chance to not only earn the men’s higher wages, but prove they could do the same jobs as men; something women still struggle to prove today to a certain extent.

Way to go Mary!

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It’s time we celebrate the end of winter (no more snow, yea!) and beginning of spring.  Antique and vintage postcards do this beautifully with their colorful array of flowers- from daffodils and iris, to crocus and pansies.

Lady Slipper

The Lady Slipper usually blooms in late June or early July.  I know that’s not spring, but how can I pass up showing off this bit of nature’s beauty now after several months of snow and lack of color?

Switzerland published vintage postcard, signed by artist P.R., of a Lady Slipper.

The Showy Lady Slipper (pink and white) is a rare orchid.   On Prince Edward Island, it was so rare that the Pink Lady Slipper replaced it as the provincial flower.  This orchid became the state flower of Minnesota in 1902.  It has been protected in Minnesota since 1925.  The above Lady Slipper is a White Lady Slipper.

Note: 100 years ago, Lady Slippers were a favorite adornment of church alters.

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You can find more great flower postcards at Remember When Vintage Postcards.

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Victorian trade cards are are like doors of curiosity we should open in order to explore our history.  One never knows what historical treasure might be unearthed.  The trade card collector might find out about his or her relatives’ buying habits thru scrapbooks, or what businesses shaped their home town.  Who knows?

Before  The Theatre District

Victorian trade cards of clowns advertising for Ed J Ball Business Signs of Minneapolis, MN

I acquired two Victorian trade cards where the business address was Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis, MN (a major entertainment thoroughfare about 1 hour from where I grew up).  This definitely sparked my interest.

I found out during my search for info on Ed. J. Ball Business Signs that prior to Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis, MN being known as the theatre district, it was known as the primary office district due in part to the construction of the Lumber Exchange in 1885.

Famous Neighbor

I also found out a little about Ed. J. Ball’s neighbor at 258 Hennepin Avenue.  In 1885, Thorpe Bros. (realtors) opened their doors at that location.  One of the founders, Samuel Skidmore Thorpe, became a major influence in real estate circles both locally and nationally.

As for Ed. J. Ball Business Signs, I never did find out anything (at least not yet) other than it existed at 252 Hennepin Avenue sometime prior to 1880 or after 1899.  That’s OK.  I did unearth a little more about the area near where I grew up.

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You can find more great Victorian trade cards at Remember When Vintage Postcards.

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Every once in a while, I find myself puzzled about the things people during the late 1800’s believed in.  In this case, the curative properties of Burdock’s Blood Bitters (or BBB) advertised on this Victorian trade card.  Burdock Blood Bitters was a patent medicine made by T. Milburn & Co. of  Toronto until just prior to the repeal of prohibition.    

 
 

Burdock Blood Bitters Victorian trade card

Burdock Blood Bitters   

What are blood bitters?  It is a liquid used in the making of alcohol cocktails.  Hmmm.  No mention of a medicinal ingredient.  This is surprising since blood bitters were often marketed as a cure for female “miseries”.  What is not surprising is the mention of alcohol (a prime ingredient in many patent medicines of the late 1800’s).  

What is burdock?  It is the sticky weed balls that get stuck to pets.  Turns out burdock roots have been a favorite medicinal herb for centuries.  For example, they were used in remedies for constipation, hair loss, and as a blood purifying agent.  Burdock roots are still being sold as an ingredient in acne medicine.  

As an added note, BBB contained nearly 20% alcohol.  It seems like this “medicine” was a great way to hide alcohol consumption during the temperance movement and prohibition.  It is more likely people bought this medicine for the alcohol, than for its so-called curative properties. 

   

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It’s the last day of our zoo animals on vintage postcards fun.  Let’s continue our visit to the New York Zoological Park.  For those who’re just joining us, this is the zoo that resulted from Fordham University’s selling the land it sits on to New York City for $1000.

So far, we’ve visited elephants, brown bears, and arctic foxes, giraffes, and the hippopotamus, Indian Leopard, and Malay Tiger.  Today’s vintage postcards picture the Barbary Sheep, the Eland, and the Rocky Mountain Goat.

Eland

New York Zoological Park Eland

 

Eland are considered to be the largest of African antelopes.  They have spiral horns and white, vertical stripes on their torso.  Although you can’t see it in this postcard, they also have a crest of erect hair along the spine.  Males weigh twice as much as females, but females have longer horns.  They may be the slowest of antelopes, but are accomplished jumpers that can clear a 10′ fence from a standing position.

Barbary Wild Sheep

NY Zoological Park Postcard of Barbary Wild Sheep on Mtn Sheep Hill

 

The Barbary Sheep is the sole wild sheep of Africa.  It has been impacted greatly by hunting, and livestock.  The Egyptian Barbary Sheep is currently classified as extinct in the wild, but some believe they still exist in southeast and southwest Egypt.  This sheep has developed an exceptional ability to remain motionless when danger threatens, thus remaining unseen to predators.

Rocky Mountain Goat

New York Zoological Park Postcard of Rocky Mountain Goat and Shelter

 

The mountain goat is not threatened.  They have strong forelegs that allow it to jump quickly.  These goats are highly competitive, with the female being more aggressive than the male.
 
I hope you enjoyed your tour of the New York Zoological Park’s animals thru vintage postcards.  This tour is an example of how vintage postcards are more than just pretty pictures and pieces of old paper.  They are an adventure!
  
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Hello New York Zoological Park vintage postcard tour participants.  It seems our tour has hit a “snag” by developing a migraine.  Bummer.  Please hold onto your tickets.  They will be good for the resume of our tour on Thursday, 03/04/10.  Thank you for your patience as we repair the tour guide.  Extra strength Excedrine Migraine should do the trick (and a little more sleep).

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It’s time for more zoo animals on vintage postcards fun.  Let’s continue our visit to the New York Zoological Park.  For those who’re just joining us, this is the zoo that resulted from Fordham University’s selling the land it sits on to New York City for $1000.

So far, we’ve visited elephants, brown bears, and arctic foxes, giraffes, and the hippopotamus.  Today’s vintage postcards picture the Indian Leopard, and Malay Tiger.

Malay Tiger

NY Zoological Park Vintage Postcard of Malay Tiger "Princeton"

The Bronx Zoo (formerly known as The New York Zoological Park) has another wonderful page of interesting info on this endangered animal, the tiger.  For instance – this big cat’s tail twitches when on the prowl.  I was saddened to learn while reading this page, that half of all tiger cubs die within two years.  Be sure to check out the web page of your local zoo.  It too might have pages of interesting info on it’s exhibited animals.

Indian Leopard

New York Zoological Park Vintage Postcard of Indian Leopard Cub

 

The Minnesota Zoo, my local zoo, has a wonderful exhibit on the almost extinct Amur Leopard.  I make sure to visit it each time I go.  The leopard avoids tiger territory.   The leopard is an excellent stalker and tree climber, who will descend head first (unlike most cats).  They have also been known to leap out of a tree onto their prey.  Yikes.
 

Be sure to come back for the last day of our visit to the New York Zoological Park, Wednesday 03/03/10, to find out which animals on vintage postcards will be visited.
 
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