Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Nostalgia: Vintage Thanksgiving Postcards

At the beginning of November, I decorate the sideboard in the dining room with my collection of vintage postcards that celebrate Thanksgiving.  The images of turkey dinners, with all the fixings, Pilgrims and autumn landscapes are graced with greetings both traditional and fun ("Toast: May the turkey look thinner/At the end of this dinner”)

More than the wonderful illustrations, I like the messages written on the back in the fading lines of a fountain pen or hard press of pencil that have crossed miles and time.  In celebration of Thanksgiving, I thought I would share these messages that delight me every year.

The most playful of the postcards, with some strange illustrations that interpret the full Thanksgiving meal (note the chicks next to the empty soup bowl labeled "chicken soup") was written in 1912 from (I suspect based on handwriting) a young Chas Brown to his "Grandma."

"Grand Dinner in honor of Thanksgiving"

"Dear Grandma, I wish thanksgiving day was here and I would eat chicken for diner [sic] it is good to eat. Chas Brown" To Mrs. L. J. Brown, postmarked Pittsburgh, PA November 25, 1912
Embossed in a green metallic ink, a scene of Pilgrims and a bountiful harvest frame lines of poetry from Whittier.
The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof / Best Wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving

The postmark is faded but I can roughly date it to 1910.  The message in ink reads:
Dear Elsie, We are well, hoping that this will find you all the very same.  It is soon time that you all come to see us again. From, Anna Lauchat"  To Mrs. Elsie Rife postmarked York, PA, November 22, 1910 (approx.)
This peaceful scene of autumn and greeting verse was also sent from York, PA in the early 1900s.
 In one of my favorite little notes on the reverse, a mother writes to her daughter on Thanksgiving:
"Dear Hazel, This leaves me feeling better able to eat dinner and enjoy it very much. I will close with love from Mamma." To Miss Hazel Day, postmarked York, PA November 28, 190?
Sent in 1908, this richly colored postcard with its generous helpings of pie and a mystery side-dish (is that butter or potatoes in the middle left?) is from that miraculous time when the mail came twice a day.

 "Hope you are all having a nice time this fall.  Have you had any parties yet? Would like to run in an see you all tonight.  Lovingly, Hattie" To Miss Laura Lohnis, postmarked Springfield, MA November 25, 1908
Maybe these vintage postcards will inspire you to send your own greetings to friends and family both near and far this holiday.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


  1. What a wonderful collection you have! Thank you for sharing them!

  2. Hi Brenna,

    The warmth, beauty, and detail of hand written note is sometimes lost in our current digital world. Thank you for taking us back to a time when the pen was our i pad, and it could do wonders. Your vintage post cards are truly a treasure, thank you for sharing them with us. Happy Thanksgiving blessings to you and your family!

    John Jabro