July 3, 2009
During the “Golden Age” of postcards, c. 1901-1915, people mailed postcards to one another at almost any time, including the Fourth of July. July Fourth and Halloween postcards tended to be the most fanciful and striking of all post cards; these examples are no exception. They also offer commentary on contemporary social mores. For example, we see Uncle Sam smoking a cigar (Can you imagine the uproar that would ensue now, over that image?) and sitting in a folding chair, with bags of money guarded by a cannon behind him. An olive wreath, a traditional symbol of peace, seems almost tossed as an afterthought near Uncle Sam’s feet, while the Statue of Liberty is displayed against a backdrop of fireworks in this c. 1907 gilded and embossed image.
Here’s a c. 1907-1910 postcard which would be decried today as a symbol of American imperialism and insensitivity to the Native American community. A large war-like eagle almost dwarfs an Indian chief and two teepees; not surprisingly, the Indian doesn’t look terribly pleased.
The final image in this year’s Fourth of July offering is one which perhaps no one would find unsettling: A handsomely attired Uncle Sam, wearing the Stars and Stripes, greets Lady Liberty in this profusely gilded and embossed c. 1907 antique postcard. Wait a minute! We forgot! Today, there’s the crowd which views wearing the flag as practically sacrilegious. There’s no pleasing everyone.
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