Having a Blast with Victorian Fourth of July Postcards

Small children handling explosives... People in powdered wigs... And young George Washington cutting down the cherry tree with his widdle hatchet... These are the images of patriotism in postcards from the early 1900s. I thought I'd share a few of my favorites with you today, as well as a special downloadable Fourth of July present for you. But we'll get to that later!

Just look at this kid...

The cherubic face, the knee socks with sandals, the knickers and about a half a ton of crackers and rockets. This fine fellow is prepared to do some serious damage. Why, he even brought a cannon. He's been saving up his paper route money for MONTHS to buy this celebratory stash. And is he ever going to get noticed at his parent's Fourth of July garden party-- oh yes! Mother will never forget THIS holiday.

Following the theme of small unsupervised children with things that go "bang," here we have Buster Brown and his sister...

At least this seems like a more manageable amount of firecrackers. The card itself reads;

With Freedom's soil
beneath our feet
And Freedom's banner streaming o'er us.

The definition of "freedom" is: blowing stuff up loudly, apparently.

Now THIS little guy, he's not only got a firecracker larger than himself, but he's armed with a sword...

I guess if I were a little boy wearing a powdered wig, I might feel the need to be armed, myself; oh, the teasing! The teasing! And kids can be so cruel. The caption reads:

This is a day of memory
T'is freedom's jubilee

I love the colors on these cards-- vibrant, but with still a soft watercolor or goache quality to them.

Now here, possibly more appropriate for President's Day than the Fourth of July, we see young George Washington explaining to his dear old dad why the family property is now minus one cherry tree...

The caption reads:

"Father, I cannot tell a lie. I did it with my Little Hatchet."

The card doesn't explain WHY exactly George turned to deforestation, but he does get points for honesty.

Now let's meet "Miss Columbia..."

No, she's not Columbia's contestant in the Miss Universe pagaent. She's the embodiment of the land that Christopher Columbus was said to discover-- the United States.

Here we see her proudly brandishing the American flag while carelessly carrying the cornacopia of prosperity along the way, likely leaving fruit behind her all along the parade route. She also seems to have some foot trouble... One goes forward, the other turns a bit at an unnatural angle. Well, hopefully it's not going to be a very long hike.

Lastly, we have Arm and Hammer Baking Soda's lesser known product Arm and Flag...

It never really took off as well as Arm and Hammer, and eventually was cut from the product line.

Okay, I'm kidding you. It's the strong arm of America showing patriotism in honor of the Fourth. The card reads:

Our Flag, the Flag of Liberty
The flag that flies for you and me
United by Right from day to day
The Stars and Stripes are here to stay!

Now I'd promised you a treat today, didn't I? Well, I've taken a few scans of these cards and made them into a downloadable PDF so you folks can print 'em out and use 'em for projects of your own. Decoupage? Mixed media? Whatever you choose.

Just click here to download the file now.

Me, I have a friend coming to visit for the long Fourth of July holiday, so if I'm a little late in posting next weekend, never fear-- the post is coming. It might just take me a little longer.

Hope your collective Fourth of Julys are a blast, my friends!


TheDecoDetective said...

Hi Jenn, great post! Most vintage post cards I've seen are the romantic kind, so I enjoyed these - and the way you described them in your presentation =D


ThriftShopRomantic said...

Hi, Trudi- Hey thanks! I have some of the more romantic ones, too, but it's always a lot of fun to see how the Victorians treated different holidays. Their perspective on it was a bit different than ours would be today-- and of course, that's a lot of the enjoyment. Thanks for visiting!

Shirley said...

Those are great. I love the look of them.

Layne | Reward Rebel said...

Have just discovered your site via BlogCatalog, and it's a joy!

Had to mention that poor Miss Columbia not only has skew-wiff feet, she could benefit from a Wonderbra! :lol:

ThriftShopRomantic said...

Heya Shirley- Thanks for visiting!

Layne- Heh, skewed feet and improper, ahem, support. Also, long sleeves and a very high neckline in JULY heat! The poor gal-- she needs some help. :)

Kelly said...

What a great idea! The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays. I enjoyed looking at these very much.

ThriftShopRomantic said...

Kelly- and thanks a bunch for visiting!!

Jamie said...

These are really great postcards! I can't see these being popular this day and time (at least not without extensive "do not try this at home" warnings). I hope you have a great Fourth!

ThriftShopRomantic said...

Jamie- What, you mean four year olds with cannons might give parents today heart palpitations? :) Hah, you're quite right--- And you have a great one yourself!

Carla said...

These are great. I'm a bit of a collector of old postcards myself, so it always makes me happy to see that other people enjoy them as much as I do. The images from that era are really special.

Thanks for sharing them. :-)

BNS said...

These are great finds, Jenn. I used to collect postcards -- still have them all in a box somewhere -- but I never saw any like these.


Jenn Thorson said...

Carla- Oh, excellent! Welcome, fellow postcard collector!

Bobbie- Hey there, Sunshine! :) I'd think Hawaii would have a whole different genre of cards, and probably a lot in the military genre, but I'm just guessing. Very cool!

Anonymous said...

Hey Jenn!

Just read this one- I am a little late! I have to catch up with the next one- I just love roses, so I can see from the pics that I will be drooling with envy! Anyway, I just stumbled onto a neat project to use with your postcards. They used patriotic themes (hence the timing), but you could probably use any of your lovely cards as a starting point. What a neat idea for your next party!


Cheers from Aspinwall!

JennyfromAspinwall said...

Oops, forgot to add my name in my last comment!


Jenn Thorson said...

Hey, Jen! I will have to look and see-- I always appreciate new ideas for crafting. I do like to keep the integrity of my cards, so use scans of things rather than the original cards. Thanks so much again for thinking of me.