Sunday, December 18, 2016

50 Ways to Say ‘I’m on Vacation’

It would be blasphemy not to buy a postcard while traveling. Nothing says “You’re working, but I’m not!” like a U.S. state map postcard. Tacky, colorful, and displaying every advantage of each of the 50 states, they scream, “I’m out of the area and having a great time, as you can see by that water skier jumping over Mount Rushmore.”
Take for example this state card of Massachusetts, obviously an oasis surrounded by nothing but desert. Here we learn that the state flower is the mayflower, there is a colossal lobster living on an island off the shore of Gloucester, and the big swingers go to Attelboro to play golf. The state bird, a chickadee, hangs out near the Mohawk Trail, there’s some kind of a wild man waving his arms around in the Berkshires, and an airplane is getting dangerously close to Amherst. Meanwhile, a lady in a bathing suit is trying to sell glassware near the Nantucket Sound, and someone is painting a picture in Rockport. Without cards such as this, all of our true touristic knowledge of these places would be lost.

This is why I have framed my New York State postcard and hung it in the entryway of my home. Everyday as I am pulling on my mittens and mukluks, I can savor the sight of the Headless Horseman racing towards the Statue of Liberty, while a man in a fishing boat traverses the New York State Thruway. It’s chaotic, but it’s my state, hanging there in living color so I can share it with everyone who enters. 
- Heidi Lux #state #postcard #vintage # snailmail

Friday, September 30, 2016

That Woman in the Memes: Or, How a Gibson Girl Ditched Her Dinner Companion at a Dull Party

By Heidi Lux

You know the one. That jaded woman from the memes who slouches over her Champagne glass and tells you that wine is a vegetable, or quotes some other profundity about life.

Well I finally found her - on a postcard! She is actually part of a dinner party illustrated by Charles Dana Gibson (1867-1944) called “Making Bread Pills.” This Gibson Girl is clearly not the focal point of the picture; what’s more she has a dinner companion who is regularly cropped out of the memes.

At the center of the table sits a lost looking gentleman occupying himself, indeed, with making bread pills. If the couples on either side of him noticed they would be appalled, as this is usually an activity regulated to the children’s table. In case you’ve never tried it, Wonder Bread works best. You sit there unobtrusively tearing off little pieces and rolling them into tiny balls until you have amassed a good supply. You then use the bread pills as ammunition, or simply leave them on the table for the grownups to clean up.

At Charles Dana Gibson’s dinner party, the bread pill maker is clearly the odd man out. He is making the best of his time at an unendurably long meal. I had forgotten all about this skill, but intend to resurrect it the first chance I get. After all, idle hands are the devil’s workshop.

I’m so completely fascinated by this postcard that I may not be able to part with it. But I’ve just put up a small cast of other interesting characters at LuxPostCardsEtc. They are very meme-orable…  

Monday, September 12, 2016

Kodak and Dr. Nagel

The German Connection that Led Kodak to 35mm Cameras

By Heidi Lux

The autumn auction catalogs are piling up. As much as I love thumbing through all of their colorful pages, I must confess I always do a little dance when the Auction Team Breker Photographica & Film catalog is thrown through my door. It is a camera freak’s dream come true: stereo cameras, spy cameras, folding plate cameras, professional Leica and Hasselblad equipment…let’s just say I want one of everything.

And this month what a nice surprise – 24 lots of Kodak cameras! The section (lots 158 through 178) is mysteriously titled “Kodak (Dr. Nagel).” As a Rochester girl, I would have expected any selection of Kodaks to be titled “Kodak (George Eastman),” but after a bit of digging I discovered that Dr. August Nagel was the person in charge of Mr. Eastman’s German division in Stuttgart from 1932 until he died in 1943. Actually, to be fair, he owned the camera production plant, Dr. Nagel-Werke, before George Eastman bought him out, and remained on as its director.

If you go to you can check out the range of Kodaks being offered. Highlights include early 1900s Kodak Brownie and Hawkeye stereo cameras; two stylish 1928 “Vest Pocket” Kodak Vanity cameras in blue and green leather cases; an awkward looking 1937 Kodak projector; a 1930s Danish advertising poster featuring the Kodak Girl; and even some very early Kodak photographs of Cornwall, England, 1888. 

But be sure to have a look at Dr. Nagel’s special contribution, the Kodak Retina, the company’s first 35mm camera which introduced the 35mm film cartridge some of us still use today. Lot 172 consists of 9 pre-WWII Retina cameras with a starting bid of 200 Euro ($225). To be sure, some of us won’t be bidding in the Sept. 23-24 auction. But it doesn’t cost anything to look. Just don’t drool on your keyboard.

In honor of the occasion, I’ve put up a 1973 postcard of the Kodak Rochester, N.Y. camera works and headquarters on LuxPostcardsEtc. Anyone who grew up in Rochester remembers Kodak as “the Great Yellow Father,” the largest employer of the area. Visitors to Rochester will find George Eastman’s generous legacy everywhere: The Eastman Theater, the Eastman School of Music, the George Eastman House Museum of Photography and Film, and so much more. For more information on Rochester go to

Here is a link to the postcard:

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Five Fun Flag Facts: A Little Flag Waving About Old Glory

By Heidi Lux
The stars & stripes, the star-spangled banner, our red, white & blue… We recognize it by many names. Finding a flag postcard circa 1912 with only 48 stars sent me on an intriguing research mission.
Here are a few things you might not know about the American flag.
1. While flag etiquette says the U.S. flag should be raised at sunset and lowered at sunrise, there are some places where the flag is flown 24 hours a day. This includes The White House, the Town Green in Lexington, Mass., and Flag House Square in Baltimore, Md. A special act or law and proper illumination is required.
2. The colors for the American flag were taken from the Great Seal. Red is for valor, white for purity and blue for justice. In printing, the colors used are Pantone Red PMS 193 and Pantone Blue PMS 282.
3. The person most likely to have designed the original official U.S. flag – with 13 stars and 13 stripes – was Congressman Francis Hopkinson. It is not really known if Betsy Ross sewed the very first flag, although it would have been a good career move.
4. The design of the U.S. flag has been officially changed 26 times. This was done in order to add more stars for the new states, not just for fun and to have another meeting. The flag still has 13 stripes for the original 13 states. It always starts and ends with a red stripe.
5. Flag Day dates back to the late 1880s when a couple of teachers (of course) at schools in various parts of the country started holding celebrations. Flag Day is officially celebrated on June 14, the same day in 1777 that Congress approved the original U.S. flag design.
You can see more antique and vintage postcards here: