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Postcard Images of Jefferson

Lisa at the PTJRS

I am always interested in and often entertained by some of the ways I’ve seen Jefferson and other “Founding Fathers” portrayed.

I don’t actually collect postcards. I know that a lot of people do, so please forgive my ignorance on this front. It’s just that I do occasionally run across one that I can’t resist, like this one:

It’s got a divided back and an adhesive 1-cent Ben Franklin stamp. A young woman named Isabelle sent it from Pennsylvania to her Uncle Tom Emery in South Dakota on July 1st, probably sometime between 1907 and 1914.

I’m glad the portrait is labeled because I don’t think I would have recognized Jefferson, tho the rolled up Declaration tied with a pretty bow may have tipped me off.

This next one is, I think, a war-time card. World War II, that is:

At least, that’s what the screaming eagle and the font style suggest to me. Someone else probably knows better than I do. There’s an undivided back and it calls for a 1 cent stamp. Sadly, this card is unused. Maybe – from a collector’s standpoint – it’s better to have them this way, but I like the wee bit of history that can sometimes fit on the back.

Now here’s one of my favorites. True, it’s not actually a postcard, but it gets back to something I mentioned in another post – I like to see the way images of TJ appear in advertising

This is a trade card. The image was copyrighted in 1892 (lower left corner). I’m not really sure what the artist was looking at when he or she came up with this portrait of Jefferson…but doesn’t he look noble? Or…something? Again, the label helped because I think he looks more like John Adams.

McLaughlin’s Coffee was part of W. F. McLaughlin & Co., of Chicago. If you’re curious you can look here for a bit about the company

The back of the card tells you that it was part of a series. The cast of notables included Jefferson and the Continental Congress, Abraham Lincoln, Civil War Generals Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, and Philip Sheridan, “Christopher Columbus at the court of Ferdinand and Isabella,” Queen Victoria, Kaiser Wilhelm II, and “Mrs. [Grover] Cleveland and Baby Ruth.” Drinkers of McLaughlin’s coffee were urged to collect all thirteen, 16 x 22 inch pictures. For each, all anyone had to do was send in “FIFTEEN” labels as proof of purchase with their name, address, and a 2-cent stamp to cover the postage on the picture.

Perhaps this ties into a home decorating fashion around the turn of the century? Can you imagine seeing images like this one, only larger, hanging on the walls of your home in 1900? What were they meant to convey, I wonder? I’d be interested in hearing more about this if anyone knows. I suppose now they’d be kind of fun. I have a couple of old magazine ads featuring Jefferson hanging on my office wall just for that reason.     

They make for an intriguing and entertaining snapshot of late nineteenth- century advertising. And Jefferson did say that coffee was “the favorite beverage of the civilized world.”

Legacy NID: 


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