A Jolly Yuletide

SAS 1913

That’s a dead eyed Santa, yikes

This SAS card dated 1913 features a pretty girl in a green cap and yellow coat holding a Santa mask. I think. It’s the only explanation I have for how dead eyed Santa looks. That will certainly give a new meaning to the “nightmare before Christmas”!! The text reads The brigtest [sic] memories I hold dear / Are of old friends year after year. The card is embossed with flowers and lightly gilded.




Four Great War soldiers

Today is Veterans Day, November 11. You may have heard that Veterans Day originated with the Great War, the war to end all wars, World War I. Originally called Armistice Day, it was a moment of silence observed at 11:00 a.m. on November 11th, because that was the time designated in the Armistice Agreement for an end to hostilities on the Western Front. The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, 1918. In the days before internet communications, explicit and defined times and dates were important so that everyone got the message loud and clear. The armistice was a success and World War I came to an end with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in June 1919, and ultimately the fall of Berlin.

The Great War sadly was not the war to end all wars.

One hopes that these four soldiers returned home from battle, healthy and able to pick up their lives, but we can never know. The photo carries no identification on the reverse. World War I also gave rise to the term “shell shock” which today we would call post traumatic stress disorder. 100 years ago, there was no treatment for this syndrome. Men were expected to deal with it and get on with their lives. I can only imagine how terrible it must have been.

Thank your local veteran today, for their sacrifices and service to your country. It is not an easy job to perform, and in America, can be woefully under paid, under supported and unsung. While we find it easy to wear yellow ribbons, the colors of our flag, or put up signs saying “we support our troops,” our Veterans Administration is underfunded and our Veterans hospitals are understaffed. Not only do our active duty military suffer daily, but their families make deep sacrifices – deployments separating parents, family deployments to foreign countries and frequent moves, children changing schools annually – and sometimes, they make the greatest sacrifice of all in the death of their military family member. Veterans are frequently affected with long term consequences of their deployment and the action they have seen, both physically through illness/injury, but mentally through PTSD and the deep scars left by the missions they conducted. It cannot be an easy life to live, and we must appreciate every man and woman who choose to live it.

Read more about Veterans Day and the history of this holiday

History of Veterans Day – via Office of Public Affairs, US Dept of Veterans Affairs

Why do we wear a poppy? – via The Telegraph UK

In Flanders Fields – poem written about WWI

The Remembrance Poppy – via Wikipedia

Christmas would always be welcome

Golden bells

Golden bells

This is an interesting collection of items. The folded vellum card looks like a book and features golden bells and embossed holly detail. The items below were all folded into the card and paperclipped together.

Sweet greeting

Sweet greeting

The greeting reads:

Christmas would / always be welcome / if only because it / gives us a chance / to greet again, good / friends with whom, / somehow, we’ve gotten / out of touch

The inserts consist of three landscapes and a newspaper clipping of a poem.

Newspaper clipping

Newspaper clipping

From the Just Folks column by Edgar A. Guest. Guest was a well known poet popular in America for more than 40 years. His first published poem appeared in the Detroit Free Press in 1898. He was featured as a syndicated column in 300 or so newspapers, had a radio program and even a television series in the early 1950s. A collection of his works published in 1917 was titled Just Folks, and over his career he wrote some 11,000 poems.

The Gardener’s Task

In March I cut the roses back

Which took me years to learn;

I’d not in me the will to be

So ruthless and so stern;

And loving all the growing canes

I left them standing tall.

Unwise was I, for June went by

With scarce a rose at all.


I loved not wisely, but too well.

On many a stem I smiled.

To pruning loath I watched the growth

Of thorny shoots and wild.

I thought it tenderness to let

The seven-leafed branches stay

And didn’t know when wild stalks grow

They must be cut away.


Last March I cut the roses back

And bade them start anew.

With knife severe I stripped them clear

Of every growth untrue.

Now every branch a promise bears

Of roses soon to be,

And strives to tell in buds that swell

Its gratitude to me.

Copyright 1908

Copyright 1908

Winter scene

Winter scene

Winter tree

Winter tree

None of the landscapes have any notes or messages written on them. Based on the one forest scene having a copyright date in 1908, I’m guessing these are items someone had and they reminded them of home. The illustrations and poem may have been sent with the card, or intended to be mailed with the card, but then never mailed. We can never know, but the paperclips were very rusty, so these things have been together for a long, long time.

A Christmas Wish For Your Home

A bowl of poinsettias

A bowl of poinsettias

This little card is folded in half and tied with a red silk ribbon, to the left. The border is faded, but still visible as cheerful red.The illustration is simple, probably continuing in the arts and crafts influenced mode we have seen so much of on previous posts. The bowl on the table has poinsettia blooms, candles are lit, and holly sprigs abound. A simple “Merry Christmas” hails the recipient.

Inside sentiment

Inside sentiment

Inside the card, we have more text. It reads:

A Christmas Wish For Your Home

May the things that make for gladness / And the things that make for cheer / Bless your home in great abundance / When the Christmas-tide is here

Is the wis of your friends Mr. & Mrs. Wallace Miller and Family

There is no publisher information or printing company on the card, only a series number, which is series 1139, and also these were made in the USA.

All there is to Christmas

Pretty poinsettia greeting

Pretty poinsettia greeting

This particular card was made by the J. Raymond Howe Company of Chicago. As previously revealed, this was a prolific publisher of greeting cards, especially Christmas cards. They were in business between 1904-1914 or 16. I have found references to both end dates in multiple locations, so I’m going to use the outside timeframe.

An interesting note about the company. An artist and writer wrote to the Writer’s Association in 1918 asking if he had any sort of case against J. Raymond Howe Company. He explained that he had come up with a Christmas sentiment, had it printed, and then mailed to friends, family and business associates. He found a few years later that the J. Raymond Howe Company had been using his text, at times with his name attached to it, and sometimes with the illustration. However, the cards published by Howe carried a copyright. Obviously the artist was upset to see his work claimed by someone else, but according to the Writer’s Association, he did not have a case. They opined that by sending the cards without a copyright on them, he had given his work to the public, and therefore it could be used by anyone. I suspect legal opinions and precedent has changed in the last 100 years, as this sounds like opportunistic plagiarism to me!

Regardless, this card carries a kind sentiment:

All there is to Christmas is the love expressed, so – may it be Christmas to you always!

Signed on the back:

Loving thoughts from the Dybdals to all of you.

Dybdal is a Norwegian name and there are a lot of Dybdals in the Minnesota, Dakotas, Nebraska areas.

With best Christmas wishes

Basket and bird

Basket and bird

Mrs Frank Smith sent this to some friends. The card has a gold border around the edge and the center is embossed to frame the image and text. The illustration is lovely, a basket of poinsettias and a bird on a vine. The greeting reads:

With Best Christmas Wishes / Just a Merry Christmas / The greeting is but small / Yet I wish it very heartily / And I wish it for you all

Sincere good wishes

Silver and blue

Silver and blue

This card is a 1/4 sheet size, so 4″ x 5.5″. It is embossed in the center to frame the greeting, and the illustration is also embossed as well as inked in blue and silver. The sentiment reads:

Sincere Good Wishes for Christmas and the New Year

it was signed

Mr & Mrs F. and Beulah Goddard

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