· Purchased Postcards: My Favorites ·
Recently I had the pleasure of purchasing postcards. What a treat!
Today, I’m going to share with you my top ten postcards from my shopping spree at the annual Wichita Postcard Club Show.
You don’t have to be a postcard collector or a historian to enjoy these cards, but it helps. I’ve also learned that writers looking for a writing prompt or a story, often find a photo postcard to be just what they’re looking for to get their creative juices flowing. Here goes.
1. Wide-brimmed ladies hats, eighteen inches and more, were made popular in 1907 after the celebrated operetta, The Merry Widow, staring Lily Elsie, the beautiful and talented English actress. The fashionable hats were regularly adorned with bird feathers, sometimes even stuffed birds. The fad lasted about four years. This Merry Widow Hat is decorated with flowers.
2. Not too many years ago you might have considered the idea of having groceries delivered to your home by the U.S. mail or United Parcel Service as far-fetched. This 1907 postmarked card sent from Keyport, New Jersey, shows how groceries and meats were once delivered by horse and wagon. A man and a boy, both sharply dressed, stand between the horses and the wagon. Are they father and son? Can you imagine their business routine?
3. This card titled, “Airships Passing Over Ellsworth Kansas,” is postmarked 1911. In case you didn’t recognize the humor in the title, this is considered an exaggeration postcard. It’s fake news. Never happened. There were airships called dirigibles and triplanes existed, but on this postcard the machines have been added to the otherwise clear Kansas sky.
4. I’ve titled this postcard, “Two Young Cowboys,” even though I suspect the picture was taken in a photo studio. The card was sent from Denison, Texas in 1913. Can you imagine what these boys were thinking? Did they want to grow up to be cowboys? What if you were their studio photographer? What would your business have been like?
5. The first solo nonstop transatlantic flight from Long Island, New York to Paris, France, took place May 20-21, 1927. Charles Lindbergh piloted the custom-built, single engine, single-seat, high wing monoplane for 33.5 hours. He recalled the toughest part of the flight was staying awake. By the time the tires of the Spirit of St. Louis touched down on French soil, Lindbergh hadn’t slept for 55 hours. Can you imagine making life and death decisions when you’re so exhausted you experience hallucinations?
The above card, postmarked St. Louis, July 26, 1927, was sent by the St. Louis Chamber of Commerce. Lindbergh had asked them to respond to the heavy volume of congratulatory mail. The plane was named in honor of his supporters in St. Louis who paid for the aircraft.
6. During the summer of 1927, President Calvin Coolidge was vacationing in the Black Hills of South Dakota, enticed by the lure of catching trout, when on August 4 he was adopted as chief by the Sioux Indians at Deadwood. I want to know, who are the women in this photo card?
7. Frank D. Conard, a Garden City, KS, photographer became well-known for his pictures of dust storms and creating exaggerated postcards.
8. Conard would often use Garden City locals in his exaggeration postcards. There’s little doubt that in the mid-1930s this police officer was asked to pose for a photo that would later be titled, “Pinched for Jayhopping.”
9. Only after I returned home from the show did I recognize this was a photograph, not a postcard, but I’m still fascinated by the true story of the tallest man in the world, Robert Wadlaw, who is standing next to his father.
Born and raised in Alton, Illinois, (1918-1940), the Alton Giant’s overactive pituitary gland was responsible for his enormous size. He weighed 439 pounds, was more than 8’ 11” tall and still growing when he died at age 22.
Would you want to be nine feet tall? Why or why not? How do you think Robert felt when at age eight he was already taller than his father?
10. I recognized the reelection photograph of Judge Jan Long of Reno County, KS. She had a long career as a defense attorney, prosecutor, and judge before serving in the Kansas House of Representatives (1991-2017). She died in 2017 at age 64.
I marvel at our changing technological world. Can you imagine how these ten images of old postcards could be used in schools today?
“OK, class,” the teacher announces, “today your assignment is to select and research six of these ten photos, then write at least one paragraph about each card. “Ready, set, turn on your phones.”
And the art teacher directs her students, “In order to create correct proportions we’ll be working on grid drawings, so choose your favorite image.”
Finally, what if the creative writing teacher instructed: “Select two photos and have the people from each card talk to one another. For example, President Coolidge and Charles Lindbergh might be having a conversation about flying, fly-fishing, or both. The lady with The Merry Widow Hat could be talking to the boy who is helping deliver groceries with his father.
“Now, start your laptops and let’s get to work.”
Until next time, happy writing and reading!
The Kansas Authors Club www.kansasauthors.org is a statewide organization that encourages and supports great writing. It’s divided into seven districts. In Hutchinson, Reno County (part of District 6), we have monthly meetings at Hutchinson Community College. http://www.hutchcc.edu You’re invited. Questions? Contact Jim Potter, email@example.com