Greetings from Thanksgivings past in New York

Do you send greeting cards wishing friends and family a happy Thanksgiving? Probably not—especially when a text or Facebook post will do.

But New Yorkers a century ago sent out these penny postcards emblazoned with turkeys, Pilgrims, pumpkins, corn, American flags, cherubic children, and other Thanksgiving images.

The New York Public Library has a large collection of these early 1900s cards in their digital gallery. All were sent to New Yorkers (Brooklyn and Manhattan primarily).

And none have ZIP codes—those didn’t come until 1963!

[NYPL Digital Collection from 1907-1909]

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2 Responses to “Greetings from Thanksgivings past in New York”

  1. Zoé Says:

    So cute Ephemeral!

    My mom gave me an antique scrapbook she got at a local antique shop when I was younger. It was lovingly made by a mother for her children around the turn of the last century. (The year is written but I can’t recall it now. It’s across the room from me now but as it’s fragile I need some preparation to open it). There is a beautiful photo of the children in it & presumably their grandmother as well! (The sweetest parts). It has so many amazing cards & bits of coloured litho labels & adverts & if I recall properly a few true scrap pieces (made for these scrap books then).

    It’s a prized possession. Your post today makes me want to look in there for Thanksgiving images. Perhaps I’ll report back here if there are any. (I’ll answer my own comment lol).

    My mom had a book of these coloured postcards when she was a child in the 20s. Postcard collecting was so big up until WWII. (I have an antique collection she bought as an adult also. It’s fascinating as most of them have messages on them sent within one British & New England family & they kept adding to it until the 1950s…). When my mother became ill w/ one of those pre-antibiotic childhood illnesses (a fever… scarlet? yellow?…) the doctor made my grandmother burn all her toys. So the card collection went also. She still spoke sadly about losing all those cards… fifty years later… I think originally it was her father’s/my grandfather’s…

    Coloured paper images were so much more rare then. People really treasured them. Now we’re swimming in coloured paper…

  2. Happy Thanksgiving | EngAGE Blog Says:

    […] have selected this postcard to send to family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving. See more on this post from Ephemeral New York. ~ Best wishes for a happy holiday from everyone on the EngAGE […]

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