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Tag Archives: postcards

- Erin Go Bragh! Images of St Patrick’s Day in the Visual Studies Collection


The Harp That Once Through Tara's Halls...,  Visual Studies Collection, Library of Virginia.

This March we are highlighting vintage St. Patrick’s Day postcards from the Visual Studies Collection at the Library of Virginia. What is the backstory behind some of the images and symbols we associate with St. Patrick’s Day? And how did Virginians in the past celebrate this most Irish of holidays?

It may surprise many Americans to learn that St. Patrick’s Day did not become an official public holiday in Ireland until 1903. As the feast day of St. Patrick, known as the “Apostle of Ireland,” the “holy day” traditionally featured religious observances. In the United States, Irish immigrants embraced the holiday as a way to celebrate their shared heritage and honor the saint. It was in New York City, not Dublin, that the first St. Patrick’s Day parade took place in 1762 (see the Tenement Museum’s excellent history of St. Patrick’s Day in New York).

The dual nature of St. Patrick’s Day as a commemoration of the saint and an expression of Irish identity is evident in the iconography associated with the holiday. We see St. Patrick represented by his golden crozier (hooked staff), a bishop’s mitre, and shamrocks, which legend held he used to teach the doctrine of the Trinity. While the early history of these symbols is unclear, they were in use by the 17th century, when they were included on coinageread more »

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- Ich Liebe Dich! Vintage Valentines

Happy Valentine’s Day to our Out of the Box readers! Valentine’s Day is perhaps the most critiqued of any holiday for being “made-up,” but as a celebration of romantic love it dates back to the 14th century. Mass-produced valentines became increasingly popular during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, coinciding with another trend—humorous postcards portraying Dutch and German immigrants. HA! Weren’t expecting that, were you?

These postcards played on turn-of-the-century stereotypes about German culture and speech, and although the valentines displayed below seem to have been created in fun, other examples were more negative, reflecting native-born Americans fears about waves of new immigrants as threats to American values and jobs.

 

To see more examples of Vintage Valentines, check out LOOK WHAT WE GOT, the Library of Virginia’s Tumblr page, which is frequently updated with new additions to the visual studies collection, or take a look at our Vintage Valentines Pinterest board. To learn more about immigrant experience in Virginia, check out the Library’s exhibit New Virginians: 1619-2019 & Beyond, through 7 December 2019.… read more »

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- Season’s Greetings and More!

Did you know that the Library of Virginia’s Visual Studies Collection has a Tumblr page for new acquisitions? It is called LOOK WHAT WE GOT, and the page is a feast for the eyes! At least twice a day, images of newly acquired materials ranging from holiday cocktail napkins and dinner menus to family snapshots and vacation postcards are posted for research and enjoyment.

Particularly fun at this time of year are the December holiday images. Please enjoy these seasonal selections and follow LOOK WHAT WE GOT on Tumblr to keep up with new Visual Studies Collection acquisitions.

 … read more »

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- Chasing Steeples through WWI France

The Library of Virginia’s Visual Studies Collection has a collection of German postcards depicting non-combat scenes from the Western Front. Schaar & Dathe of Trier printed the postcards, which depict the effects of war through images of ruins, life in the camps, and the clean-up efforts of soldiers and civilians.

Schaar & Dathe of Trier was one of the biggest German postcard printers and used letterpress, lithograph, and collotype processes. During WWI, the company had 15 presses and employed 150 workers. Creating postcards during the war was an easy, affordable way to spread news visually about the areas most affected by combat. It’s odd to think of someone sending and receiving these images, but it might have been the easiest way to update someone about the damage in your town.

In thinking of how to best show these images online, I focused on the places depicted and selected the HistoryPin platform. The Library of Virginia uploads image sets with strong geographical ties to HistoryPin, so that users can explore them by location. For instance, if you look at Richmond, you’ll see all the Adolph Rice photographs we’ve uploaded, as well as everyone else’s images. Users can attach their stories and recollections to the images as well, creating multidimensional descriptions. Part of the fun of HistoryPin is matching up old photographs with current images of the … read more »

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