Collecting Linen Postcards

Linen postcards’ misleading name suggests postcards made out of fabric, but that is far from the case. They’re in fact made of paper: a textured, high quality paper.

What really makes linen postcards stand out is their saturated colors on top of the textured material. The card stock has a high rag content, meaning a higher content of cotton fiber and generally better quality. The embossed paper allows for quicker-drying ink, too.

Linen postcard were printed from the 1930’s to the 1950’s. Linen postcards usually had white borders, a carry-over from postcards between WWI and the 1920’s.

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Curt Teich Co. of Chicago printed the most linen postcards. Each postcard was numbered, making them easy to distinguish from each other and be carefully collected based on the number. Curt Teich also produced the famous “large letter” linen postcards, those cards popular among tourists and fans of the shining pinnacle of road trip-era America.

The categories of linen postcards vary; popular categories include scenics, comics, and travel postcards.

Do you collect linen postcards? As you can see, they’re easy to distinguish from other types of postcards. Let us know if you collect them, and what topics you like to collect, in the comments!

Looking for some more linen postcards of your own? Check no further than our ebay store!

The 1933 Chicago World’s Fair Through Vintage Postcards

In the 1930’s, people were fascinated by technological advances. So it stands to reason that the motto of Chicago’s 1933 World’s Fair was “Science Finds, Industry Applies, Man Conforms”. Throughout the fair visitors could find exhibits that replicated scientific discoveries and the inventions resulting from them.

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Chicago ran the fair on Lake Michigan.

It honored the first Chicago World’s fair in 1893 by constructing a “Rainbow City” – an ode to the World’s Columbian Exposition’s “White City”. The Rainbow City featured late Art Deco-style architecture.

The fair also featured questionable displays, like a hall of incubators with real babies inside them. They wanted to feature this new, life saving incubator technology, but did they really have to put live babies inside them?

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The fair introduced a Homes of Tomorrow Exhibition that showed what homes of the future would look like. With a growing interest in domestic ease in the U.S., the exhibition was a hit. Some homes even featured helicopter pads. Many people bought plans for the houses and later used them to construct their own.

The fair saw so much success that it had a second opening from May 26 to October 31, 1934.

The fair was remembered way past its 1934 end date. The city added a fourth red star to its flag to remember the exposition.

The Illustrations of Frederick Richardson

Frederick Richardson illustrated books during the great illustration boom of the late 20th to early 21st centuries. He’s best known for his illustrations of L. Frank Baum children’s books. (Baum was the author of the Wizard of Oz books, though Richardson did not illustrated these.) He also worked with Frank Baum and Georgene Faulkner.

Richardson started his illustration career when he went to school at the St. Louis School of Fine Arts and the Academie Julian in Paris.

Richardson's rooster from a Mother Goose tale.

Richardson’s rooster from a Mother Goose tale.

After his education, Richardson taught at the Chicago Art Institute. Later, he created illustrations for a Chicago newspaper and helped record history with his illustrations of the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. People were so impressed with his work that they sent him to the next world’s fair in Paris, the Exposition Universelle Internationale. He even published a collection of his newspaper illustrations in 1899.

From The Wee Wee Woman, available for purchase here.

From The Wee Wee Woman, available for purchase here.

After his stint in Chicago, he moved to New York City to make a career move to book illustration. The first book he illustrated was Queen Zixi of Ix, published in book form in 1906. This was his first break into the book publishing industry.

Coyote and persimmons, from a traditional Native American tale.

Coyote and persimmons, from a traditional Native American tale.

Richardson had a diverse illustrating style and worked with many authors to create pictures that fit the style and tone of their books.

Richardson even parodied Vincent van Gogh in a book called The Revolt Against Beauty.

When Richardson died in 1937, he was honored with a book of classic stories paired with his bright illustrations.

Hold to Light Postcards

“Hold to light” postcards work just like they sound – hold them up to a strong light and you will have a sight to behold.

One type of hold to light postcard comes die-cut, which has several layers, including a colored layer that the light shines through.

A Salt Lake City "Hold to Light" postcard. Available at S&C ETC.

A Salt Lake City “Hold to Light” postcard. Available at S&C ETC.

 

The transparent postcards have an extra element of surprise to them. One image is visible when viewed normally, then another appears when the card is held to light. This leads to many surprising postcard discoveries!

Some transition from day to night images, some change color, and some change their image altogether.

Joseph Koehler of New York City printed many hold to light postcards in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with scenes of Chicago with light up windows, street lights and more. Koehler first published a set of these at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.

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Many hold to light postcards are quite rare, and their prices can run anywhere from $10 to $100 to even more. The die-cuts usually cost the most.

You won’t find anything like these postcards being made today, so finding one in a vintage collection is a special find.