Monday, December 19, 2016

Early 1900s Oilette postcard from Tuck's featuring snowball fight

Are all of your Christmas cards mailed? Today's Christmas-themed ephemera is a Tuck's postcard that was postmarked eleven decades ago, in 1906. It features, perhaps unusual for the time, a full color photograph. It shows a rather unenthusiastic snowball-fight standoff, with a little girl dressed in red stuck in the middle. (I'm sure we can find some symbolism there.)

This is an "Oilette" card that was published by Raphael Tuck & Sons and printed in England. According to the website Tuck DB Postcards (, which has an extensive history of Tuck's, the Oilette cards were first published in 1903:
"This was a type of card used by Tuck, starting in 1903, with a surface designed to appear as a miniature oil painting. Early 'Oilettes' had a brush stroke simulation, but the vast majority of Tuck 'Oilettes' have a smooth surface. Many collectors refer to any facsimile of an artist's work as an 'Oilette'. The cities of New York, Quebec, Montreal, Toronto, Atlanta, New Orleans, Baltimore, Santa Fe and Ottawa were all well covered by Tuck 'Oilettes'. State views of Maine, the Adirondacks in New York, Jamestown Virginia, and others are well represented among the 'Oilettes'. Many 'Oilettes' also exist for many of the other countries in the 'Americas'."
Written across the bottom of this postcard is: "With best of wishes, Maud."

The card is addressed to Miss Mae McGinnis of Mahoningtown, Lawrence County, Pennsylvania. Mahoningtown is a neighborhood within the city of New Castle. It is also referred to as Motown, though I suppose we would have to specify "Not That Motown."

Lawrence County, by the way, also contains a borough named Wampum (birthplace of Dick Allen), census-designated places named Chewton and Frizzleburg, and an unincorporated community named Energy.

Related snowball posts

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