Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The mystery of an old photo postcard...

Old photo postcard

When cleaning out my grandfather's house after his death, I found an awful lot of very old antique postcards, many of them unused. A great bunch of them looked to come from the early 1900s (1906-1918 were the postmarks on similar postcards, which would make them older than my grandfather). The majority were "photo postcards." I suppose I need to research this trend (or possibly just pick the brain of the very knowledgeable Chris at Wild Postcards), but it seems that individuals had their printed photos made right into postcards... kind of like we do now. Anyway, my mom and I were left wondering, who are these people? Are we related to them? Most likely we will never know, though one wonders why Grandpa held on to them if he didn't know them somehow.

This mysterious woman with her Mona Lisa face was my favorite in the bunch. I sent it to my mom later, of course, so we could keep it in the family. I like her hat, I like her dress, I like her pose, but most of all I like the quiet, inscrutable look on her face.

Old photo postcard closeup


  1. she looks like she is a very shy person and sometimes back then women did this to get a husband out west and if the man liked the way they looked I imagine he sent for them sort of like the mail order bride maybe . Just a guess anyways . did you like the tale i just made up about this post card ? Just a thought . Great pc , great blog and have a great day .

  2. that is a lovely postcard - i use vintage postcards and photos in a lot of my collage artwork. as a fashion design/costume history gal i also appreciate the details of dress in this photo.

    thanks for sharing this "Mona Lisa" photo!

  3. No, definitely not movie stars. This is a pretty one, but there are also groups of people, small children, etc who are clearly just regular people. They aren't dressed well, have crooked teeth, and most of them look remarkably... unglamorous.

  4. I wouldn't count Grandpa having known this person (or the others); he may have simply liked pretty girls. Or he may have been interested in more things philatelic than you were aware of.

    If you'd like to scan the back of the card and email it to me, I may be able to tell you something about it.

  5. Oh...I just love those old photos!!!
    Enjoy yourself with that old history!!

    BTW did my letter arrive already with you?
    just being curious.....*lol*

  6. Marianne - I'd need your last name to be sure, and I don't want you to leave that in a comment.

    Chris - I can't scan it, I sent it to my mom. I can certainly scan the back of some of the other cards in the same batch from the same photography studio - thanks!