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Print Collection 12: The Postcards


Postcards had become popular with both society's elite and the broader population in pre-war Europe and America. Their established use made them ideal for disseminating images of the war after 1914. Like the popular art of the time, European postcards turned patriotic, and print artists were employed in drafting their designs. Artistic postcards were made through a lithographic process and were considered a form of original art, according to historians Aline Ripert and Claude Frère. Their subject matter included allegories of peace and victory, caricatures of the enemy, scenes of battle and illustrations of everyday life on the home-front. Many of the artistic postcards in the Collection were produced in series, such as Poulbot's scenes of wartime childhood and Hansi's German caricatures. A second type of wartime postcard was made possible by photographers who gathered material for publishers, following soldiers and documenting the aftermath of battles. These images were created with a photographic printing process and show the lives of soldiers on the frontlines, post-battle ruins (see Les Ruines de la Grande Guerre) and victory celebrations.

The postcards in the Collection generally carry titles accompanied by text and publisher information, but publication dates and artists (especially in the case of reproductions of existing designs, such as Les Affiches de la Grande Guerre) are rarely marked. Dates printed on cards often pertain to the depicted events, such as battles or official holidays. In some cases, the date of the original drafting is printed beside the signature of the artist.

Most of the Collection's postcards (over 400) were given to the library by the Houston family as part of the estate of Mrs. Eleanor Houston Smith who lived at Druim Moir castle in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia during the war. Several of the cards show signs of being posted, most often from Lieutenant Curtis Allen of the 39th Infantry unit A.E.F., who writes of his travels in post-war France to the Houston family.

See more about the postcards in the Collection.


Call numbers Series/Title Artist(s) Publisher/Printer Date Notes
PC-001—020 Affiches de la Grande Guerre Charles Edward Chambers, Achille Luciano Mauzan, A. O. Maksimov, Eugene Courboin, Haube, Hansi Éditions des Petites Affiches de Normandie, Rouen n.d. Reproductions of Allied war posters from UK, USA, France, Russia and Italy
PC-021—031 Petits Français Françisque Poulbot Color, Paris 1915 Poulbot children cartoons, color
PC-032—060 Poulbot Françisque Poulbot A. Ternois, Paris n.d. Poulbot children cartoons, monochrome
PC-061—068 [Hansi] Hansi (Jean-Jacques Waltz) P. J. Gallais et Cie., Paris n.d. Hansi German caricatures and Alsatian prints
PC-069—073 Journées du Poilu Françisque Poulbot and others Ilya Lapina, Paris 1915 Reproductions of Journées du Poilu posters
PC-074—092 Pantheon de la Guerre P. Carrier-Belleuse/A.-F. Gorguet 1918 Various sections of Pantheon de la Guerre painting
PC-093—102 1914... E. le Deley, Paris 1914 Battle illustrations, French and English captions
PC-103—108 1914-1915... F. de Haenen, R. Caton Woodville, Frederick Villiers E. le Deley, Paris 1915 Battle illustrations, French and English Captions
PC-109 Pour la France Versez Votre Or Abel Faivre La Societé des Amis des Artistes/Devambez, Paris n.d. Reproduction of French gold-drive poster
PC-110 Gloire à notre France éternelle L. Boisson, Paris 1918 French postcard, Soldier's tomb
PC-111 Castlenau Joffre Pau Grands Magasins de l'Hotel-de-Ville, Tours/L. V. et Cie. n.d. French color postcard, image of generals
PC-112 Cortège Historique Editions Albertines 1918 Cover to series (PC-404—PC-415) of King Albert's return to Belgium
PC-113 Coblenz Kgl. Schloss Karl Fischer, a. Rh. 1919 Landscape scene. Sent from Germany
PC-114—116 Prestito Nazionale M. Yinca, Beltrami (?) L'Idea/Pilade Rocco, Milan n.d. Italian war loan postcards
PC-117—119 Prestito Nazionale Achille Luciano Mauzan, Tito Corbella, Givry (?) Officine dell'ist It. D'Arti Grafiche, Bergamo n.d. Italian war loan postcards
PC-120 Prestito Nazionale Arturo Ballester E. Cabrone, Rome 1918 Italian war loan postcard
PC-121 A Vulnere Salus A. Petroni Danesi, Rome n.d. Italian war loan postcard
PC-122 Perchè l'Italia sia Vittoriosa n.d. Italian war loan postcard
PC-123 Prestito Nazionale n.d. Italian war loan postcard
PC-124—125 [Gibson] Gibson Art Company, Cincinnati 1917 American postcards, patriotic cartoons.
PC-126 Christmas Greetings Lawrence Wilbur W. F. Powers Co. Litho., New York 1919 American postcard
PC-127 The Allies Allies' Special Aid, New York 1917 American postcard, costumed dogs representing the Allies
PC-128 Away with Toys - Give me a Gun! Fred Spurgin n.d. American postcard, young boy holding a rifle
PC-129 Let 'Em All Come n.d. American postcard, young boy and girl holding a rifle
PC-130—167, PC-432 Les Ruines de la Grande Guerre Hôtel Lion Rouge, Soissons/Lévy Fils & Cie., Paris n.d. French photographic series, war ruins in Soissons, Crouy, Vailly and Anizy-le-Château
PC-168—206 [B. Nougarède] B. Nougarède et H. Lestrat, Soissons n.d. French photographic series, war ruins of Aisne
PC-207—229 Guerre 1914-1918 Nancy Daniel Delboy, Domvallier 1918 French photographic series, war ruins in Nancy
PC-230—247 La Guerre 1914-1918 Verdun L. C. H. Visé, Paris 1918 French photographic series, war ruins, Verdun
PC-248—258 Noyon (Oise) Phototypie Combier, Macon n.d. French photographic series, war ruins, Noyon
PC-259—264 Noyon (Oise) en 1919 Phototypie Combier, Macon 1919 French photographic series, war ruins, Noyon
PC-265—276 Roye après la Grande Guerre Léon Caron n.d. French photographic series, war ruins, Roye
PC-277—289, PC-305—310 [La Guerre en Argonne] Martinet, St. Menehould 1918 French photographic series, war ruins, Argonne
PC-290—292 La Guerre en Argonne Martinet-Heuillard, St. Menehould 1918 French photographic series, war ruins, Argonne
PC-293—304 La Guerre en Champagne Martinet-Heuillard, St. Menehould/D. A. Longuet, Paris n.d. French photographic series, war ruins, Champagne
PC-311 Saint-Menehould Martinet-Heuillard, St. Menehould/D. A. Longuet, Paris n.d. Photographic image of the chateau at Saint-Menehould
PC-312—316 Albert (Somme) MTIL n.d. French photographic series, war ruins, Albert (Somme)
PC-317—337 Arras MTIL n.d. French photographic series, war ruins, Arras
PC-338—340 Lens MTIL n.d. French photographic series, war ruins, Lens
PC-341—349 [Dupriez] M. Dupriez, Lille n.d. French photographic series, war ruins, Arras, Roclincourt, &c.
PC-350—351 Lille M. Dupriez, Lille 1916 French photographic series, war ruins, Lille
PC-352—360 [La Pensée] La Pensée/Phototypie Baudinière n.d. French photographic series, war ruins, Arras, La Bassée
PC-361379 [Bergeret] Ch. Bergeret, Strasbourg 1915-1918 French photographic series, post-war scenes of various towns
PC-380—383, PC-396—397 Strasbourg Ch. Bergeret, Strasbourg 1918 French photographic series, soldiers and generals arriving in Strasbourg
PC-384—395 Strasbourg, Entrée solennelle du Maréchal Pétain Ch. Bergeret, Strasbourg 1918 French photographic series, Maréchal Pétain and troops enter Strasbourg
PC-398—403 Strasbourg, Visite Présidentielle Ch. Bergeret, Strasbourg 1918 French photographic series, President Poincaré and Prime Minister Clemenceau visit Strasbourg
PC-404—415 [Editions Albertines] Editions Albertines/S. Polak, Brussels n.d. Belgian photographic series, King Albert enters Brussels
PC-416 "Le Bourdon de la Victoire" Armand Blanchet, Paris n.d. Photographic image of Le Bourdon de la Victoire bell
PC-417 Le "Bourdon" des 400,000 Morts de Verdun 1931 Photographic image of Le Bourdon de la Victoire bell.
PC-418 Musée de l'Armée Hotel des Invalides/E. le Deley, Paris 1921 Photographic image of French ace pilot Cpt. Guynemer.
PC-419 Igny (Marne) Cosson, Paris n.d. Photographic image of ruins at Igny (Marne)
PC-420 [Reboulet] Librairie Reboulet n.d. Photographic image of Pont-au-Mousson bridge ruins
PC-421 La Ferté-sous-Jouarre (S.M.) Photo. Brindelet, Ferté-sous-Jouarre n.d. Photographic image of a street, Ferté-sous-Jouarre
PC-422 Nancy Imprimeries Réunies de Nancy n.d. Photographic image of Place de la Carrière in Nancy
PC-423 bis. Grasse Quaglia Frères, Grasse 1919 Photographic image of a gorge at Grasse
PC-424 Dijon Eugène Piron n.d. Photographic image of war memorial relief sculpture by Eugène Piron in Dijon
PC-425 Nice [...], Nice 1919 Photographic image of seaside at Nice
PC-426 Château-Thierry G. Isèbe n.d. Photographic image of a Bertha platform
PC-427 La Grande Guerre M. Lavergne, Paris 1920 Photographic image of street ruins in Rheims
PC-428 Notre Ville du Front, Reims Ch. Brunel (?) 1919 Photographic image of war ruins in Rheims
PC-429 Côte d'émeraude, Rothéneuf Guérin, St-Malo n.d. Photographic image of the old manor house of Jacques Cartier, Rothéneuf
PC-430 Commercy J. Gateaux, Commercy n.d. Photographic image of Carnot St., Commercy
PC-431 Guerre de 1914 A.C. n.d. View of Mousson, reproduction of a pencil drawing
PC-433—453 Apothéose de la Victoire Cormault & Papeghin, Paris-Tours 1919 Bound booklet of twenty victory-parade photographic postcards
PC-454 Pour la Liberté, la Justice et le Droit Coquemer Imp., Paris 1917 Extracts from a speech by Woodrow Wilson
PC-455—462 [Ian Malcolm broadside series] Ian Malcolm, Dobson Molle & Co. Ltd./Verger Frères & Cie., Paris 1914-1916 Series of commemorative occupation broadside postcards with English translations

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