Where was “Three Miles from Charlottetown”?

Note: This post originally appeared in my blog about Charlottetown Harbour – Sailstrait

The plain-looking sepia-coloured postcard is cryptic to say the least. The caption simply says “Three Miles from Charlottetown” but it doesn’t say where the photo was taken. There is a pond framed by trees and a rowboat with three aboard, and strangely what appears to be a fence in the water.  The card is simply one of what may have been as many as 500 different postcards depicting P.E.I. scenes that were published before the Great War. This card was from the Toronto firm of Warwick Bros & Rutter which created over 7000 postcards during the period – about 150 of which contained Prince Edward Island scenes.

We don’t know how many of the cards were published but an Island firm, Carter and Company boasted in 1907 that they had 500,000 cards in stock.  Postcards had become a mania. Changes in postal regulations in the late 1890s allowed for the cards with a scene on one side and address and message on the other, and people immediately began collecting. While some of the cards were used for postal communication thousands were gathered into albums.

Unlike most of the cards from the period we know the photographer for this one. The picture was taken by William S. Louson. a travelling sales agent for a Montreal dry-goods company who lived in Charlottetown. Louson played a very important role in P.E.I. history as he was one of the leading “boosters” of the Island as a tourism destination. His images appeared in leading American and Canadian magazines and his photographs were printed on hundreds of thousands of postcards. Louson has a habit of eschewing locating his images, instead he provided titles like “Rustic Scene.” “A Morning Walk,” and “Border of the woods.”

We know who. We can imagine why. But can we determine where?  There appears to be some sort of pond and my first thought was that it was one of the many creeks flowing into the rivers near the city. Several of these had been dammed to create millponds. If we look at the three mile distance from the city (or even somewhat beyond), we have Wrights (Bird Island) Creek, Gates Mills at Ellen’s Creek, Hermitage Creek and on the Southport side of the river there is the Hatchery Dam on the way to Keppoch but nothing seems to fit the topography shown in the postcard .

The penny did not drop until I had another look at my recent posting on Range Lights and looked closely at the photo below:

Looking across Warren Pond to Warren Rear range light ca. 1910.

Here we have a lighthouse, a boat and a pond, and behind the boat what could be the rails of a fence in the water. This caused me to look much closer at the initial post card image. Although the cards are the product of two different publishers could they be taken in the same location and by the same photographer?

 

 

Enlarged detail of "Three Miles from Charlottetown" Lighthouse can be seen above boat bracketed by tree branches.

And then I spotted it! One tiny detail and the matter was resolved. Just above the horizon is a small dark rectangle and beneath it a barely perceptible shape that can only be a lighthouse.  When you know what you are looking at you can even see a window in the building. But this lighthouse is seen from the rear and it is definitely not the same as the one in the coloured postcard. What does look suspiciously the same is the boat and also the fence line in the water.  Both photos seem to be taken from the Ringwood side of the creek flowing into Warren Cove. The coloured postcard shows the rear light clearly and the sepia card positions the front range just behind the boat.

One thing that makes the photo difficult to locate is the fact that there is no pond at Warren Cove now, nor does it appear to have been one there for some time. A 1734 drawing shows a small pond behind the beach but it is not clear how long it lasted. None of the charts or maps of the area show a pond and yet it clearly exists in the photographs from about 1910. The 1935 aerial photograph of the area shows the place looking much as it does today with a small spring-fed creek barely trickling through a swampy area and seeping out onto the beach of Warren Cove.  One possible interpretation is that through winter storms or some other reason the outlet for the creek became blocked, or perhaps the cottagers at the Cove dammed it up  and this pond was temporarily created.  That would account for the fence line which appears in the pond. Under normal water conditions a lane may have followed the edge of the creek but as the water rose it overtopped the bank and captured the fence.

So “Three Miles from Charlottetown” is not along the banks of the Hillsborough or North River but instead the scene is across the harbour just below Fort Amherst. And it is not so surprising as Rocky Point and the Fort Lot was a popular day trip for ferry excursionists – one of whom took his camera along.

Location of Louson photo today. Front range Light is not visible but lies behind trees on south shore of marsh.

Today standing at the point from which the photos were taken one is greeted by a swampy marsh and a wall of White Spruce trees which block any sight of the range lights.  An area which was one of the first cleared of trees in the early settlement of the Island is reverting to the forest.

Parks Canada has elected to dismiss more than two hundred years of human habitation on this site which would have left this area cleared of trees. The early Acadians and English settlers soon used the trees on the site for fire wood and building materials and turned the land to agriculture uses. Rather than maintain the agricultural aspect of the site  the balance of convenience for Parks Canada appears to have been to ignore the human history and dismiss the impact of settlers on the land.

 

“Three Miles from Charlottetown” is one of a series of sepia postcards published by Warwick Bros. & Rutter, mostly using images taken by W.S. Louson. For more on these cards click here.

Five Views of Edwardian Queen Street

The building of the Charles B. Chappell designed Stamper Building at the south-east corner of Queen and Richmond Streets in Charlottetown created vantage point overlooking the prosperous businesses which looked east onto Queen Square. A series of postcard images showing the street scene reveal changes on the street over a period of ten or so years. They also tell us a lot about what postcards do and do not show and how sometimes all that exists is not to be seen.

All of the images are from the roof of the Stamper Building looking north up Queen Street toward the 1888 City Hall with its impressive bell tower. However, in the previous statement “all” should really read “both” as close examination of the cards, although they are from five different publishers, shows they actually share only two photographic images.  What is the earliest of the series is a card printed in Belgium for Taylor’s Book Store in Charlottetown.

Looking at details we can date this card as being from an image before 1909. That year the Fancy Grocery store of Jenkins and Sons on the north-west corner of Queen and Grafton Streets was demolished and was replaced by the columned façade of the Bank of Commerce, which had recently bought out the Merchants Bank of Prince Edward Island. Prominent in the foreground of the picture is a telephone or electrical pole with dozens of insulators. The wires, for the most part, have been re-touched out of existence.  The buildings fronting the square are almost all three-story brick structures. There is one exception – next to Weeks “People’s Store” a 19th century wooden building still remains. On the right of the card the shadow cast by the W.C. Harris designed Market Building falls on market square.

The same image is the basis of the card from  Charlottetown stationers Carter & Company.  But this card has little of the quality evident in the first.

Re-touched almost to the point of becoming merely a sketch of the scene, its photograph origins are obscured to the extreme.  The subtle details of the storefronts and signage are blurred. The utility pole has disappeared as has the shadow of the market building, replaced by the retoucher by a green sward surrounded by a neat hedge. Although the figures on the street, including a horse-drawn “sloven” in the middle of Queen Street, have been allowed to remain, they have almost become stick figures. In a clumsy but easily missed detail the sign of Haszard’s Bookstore on the building to the right to the sole wooden structure has been changed from the original in the photograph to read “Carter & Co. Ltd.” The overall result is a card showing a poorly coloured sterile streetscape devoid of shadows and details.  North of Grafton Street the lack of detail is even more noticible.

A card from Toronto’s Pugh Manufacturing Company looks at first glance to be merely a copy but it is a different and later image although also taken from the top of the Stamper building.  The chief difference is the 1909 Bank of Commerce which has replaced the wooden building on the corner of Queen and Grafton Streets.

But that is not the only change. S.A. MacDonald’s store with its distinctive arched second-story show window has taken the place of the wooden store.  Streetlight standards line the western side of the street.  In this photo even some of the wiring of utility poles seems to have been left in although the large pole in the centre of the card has either been re-purposed or decapitated.

A fourth card, like many cards of the period has neither a publisher or printer identified and being unused does not even have a postmark to date it although it clearly is the same image as the one used in the Pugh card shown above.

It is more closely cropped on all sides. The offending utility pole has been re-touched out of existence but a festive line of seven flags has been added in a patriotic flourish.

The final card is from Raphael Tuck and Sons, an English firm that had been appointed official printers to Queen Victoria. The firm’s cards were printed in Germany and the output included both photographic images and a wide variety of artistic cards.

The publishing quality of the Tuck cards is extremely high with subtle colouration.  Yet this card too has been altered from the original. In this case it is not the addition of flags that is most evident but the complete removal of every utility pole in the photograph giving the appearance of a broad street unspoiled by poles, wires, or other defacing 20th century street furniture.

After the Great War Queen Street continued to be a popular scene for postcards, several of which were from the Stamper’s Corner vantage point. While there was little change in the buildings lining the streets the horses, carts and slovens were soon replaced with automobiles and trucks.

These cards are a reminder that much of what we see has been “improved” in the printing process and that postcards, like all documentation, should be viewed with a critical eye.

The Sepia Series – Some Warwick & Rutter PEI Postcards

Warwick & Rutter card showing typical colour added in the printing process.

Most of the photographic scenes captured by prolific Charlottetown photographer William Steele Louson which were turned into postcards by Toronto Publishers Warwick Bros. & Rutter have the full colour treatment.  With little guidance from reality and with an artistic flourish colour was lavishly, if not luridly, applied. While this enhanced the marketability of the cards it was one step removed from the black and white images that Louson supplied. The coloured cards were the norm for the period although it is not unusual for the colour to obscure some of the detail found in the images. A number of Louson’s photographs are in the collection at the PEI Public Archives and Records Office but none are images found on the cards from Warwick & Rutter, or from other publishers who pirated Louson’s images.

View of Crapaud. believed to be a Warwick Bros & Rutter card. number not seen.

However, there is one series in the Warwick & Rutter output which may be closer to what the photographer provided or perhaps intended.  There are a dozen or so P.E.I. cards that are printed in sepia tones. While it has not yet  been possible to document all of them, the cards seem to fall in the catalogue number 5240 to 5260 range.  There are gaps in the number of known cards which suggest that there may be other cards in the series which have not yet been identified. One such card is titled “Scene at Crapaud” and the photo I have seen of the card certainly suggests that it is part of the sepia series but I have been unable to find a copy to check the card number which appears on the card back. The card is not noted in Mike Smith’s encyclopedic listing of Warwick & Rutter cards. Its style, colour and typeface place it among the W.S. Louson sepia  images. There appear to be at least two listed cards (captioned “Indian Basket Makers Camp” and “Go easy I had a Bite”) for which I have been unable to locate images. The sepia cards are from communities right across the province, many of which Louson would have visited in connection with his work as sales agent for the Montreal wholesale firm of Greenshields. It is worth noting that none of the cards, with the exception of the Exhibition Building, are located in the province’s capital.  Indeed, the Exhibition Building may not properly belong in the series as it has a different style and caption typeface.

Louson was very keen on positioning his images using dramatic cliffs, trees and foreground foliage to frame the scene and the sepia series has some excellent examples. The gallery below contains many of the sepia cards in the series. Click on any image to enlarge and create a slide show. Unless otherwise noted the cards are from the author’s collection.

For those interested in more information about William Louson, his postcards, and early tourism images of Prince Edward Island, an article about the man and his work has just been published in the most recent (Fall/Winter 2016) issue of The Island Magazine. Another recent article regarding his postcard activities “William S. Louson (1860-1921); Image-maker of Prince Edward Island” by Andrew Cunningham, appears in the Spring 2015 issue of Card Talk, the journal of the Toronto Postcard Club.

Outstanding in the Field – Harvest Postcards from P.E.I.

During the golden age of the postcard agriculture was Canada’s largest industry. The country was overwhelmingly rural. However postcards produced throughout the period tended to focus on the large cities and the emerging towns and villages proudly showing busy streets and important buildings. Some postcard publishers seemed to have ignored rural scenes completely while others had a few scattered images showing scenes outside town. Even the small local publishers seem to have felt that the farm scene was too common to make a marketable card. Larger national publishers sometimes had a special series dedicated to scenes from rural life. Even when rural areas are shown it is often the landscape that is featured rather than farming activities.

This image by W.S. Louson appears here on a card with no publisher identified but possibly is one produced for Carter and Company of Charlottetown. The same image, with Louson identified as the photographer, appears as Warwick Bros. & Rutter card #2650.

Pre-WWI postcards of Prince Edward Island seem to follow this pattern. W.S. Louson whose images are featured on many of the early Island cards seems to have preferred his landscapes without people. When they are present that are clearly observing rather than participating in rural life.  Louson himself was a “city boy,” brought up in Montreal and living in the urban centre of the Island.  In a typical scene his take on the harvest is as a prop for a woman and children (possibly his wife and daughters) out on an excursion from the town.

The activity of farming as opposed to the rural landscape is less often seen. For a province like Prince Edward Island it was hardly exotic. It seemed that almost everyone was either living on a farm or had recently left one for the town and postcards of the commonplace were unlikely to be big sellers. However even W.S. Louson was capable of making exceptions and the scene of a small boy riding atop a binder on his farmer father’s lap was added to the images selected for publication by Warwick & Rutter.

Harvesting – Prince Edward Island. Warwick Bros. & Rutter card #2685. Based on other photos of the period this is possibly the Gates farm on the Lower Malpeque Road in Charlottetown Royalty

Nationally major card publishers produced a number of series dedicated to rural life or rural scenes. Prolific postcard book author Mike Smith has identified series published by Warwick Bros. & Rutter and by Brantford publisher Stedman Bros. (later to be known for their chain of Stedman Stores in small cities and towns). Many of these rural scenes from Ontario publishers were produced by photographer Reuben Sallows who is the subject of Smith’s latest book.

It is probable that Sallows never visited Prince Edward Island which might account for the gaffe shown on the card below.  On the assumption perhaps that farming was all of a piece from one end of the Dominion to the other, a generic scene of harvest, almost certainly from Ontario, was labeled and sold as being from Prince Edward Island.

Harvesting – Prince Edward Island. Stedman Bros card #332.

While it is true that the growing crops were similar and the machinery used often originated from Ontario factories such as the Massy plant in Brantford there were regional differences often grounded in different cultures across the nation.

Barn details in the Stedman card, including the large corn crib to the right make it improbable that this is a P.E.I. farm.

One of the regional differences was in barn architecture. Ontario barns often had massive stone foundations and featured vertical boarding. In the eastern provinces the barns were generally smaller and had steep roofs and shingled walls. Rather than a single large barn P.E.I. farms were more likely to have a cluster of outbuildings around one slightly larger barn. The differences in husbandry also resulted in barn differences. Island barns had large haylofts for bedding and feed for horses and cattle. Corn was seldom a major crop on the Island. The presence of a corn crib in the Stedman card is a dead give-away that this was not Prince Edward Island farm.

While postcards can be important documentary evidence they must be used with caution. Not only are they subject to simple errors of location or description but the temptation to fill out the catalogue to cover the whole country is one that publishers could sometimes succumbed to.

 

 

 

The Pond at Victoria Park – Not Exactly as Advertised

victoriaparkIt is always exciting to come across a postcard with an image that one has never seen before so when the listing for “The Pond at Victoria Park” appeared I was anxious to see the card. There were lots of postcards showing other areas of the park including the battery of cannon facing the harbour and some showing the militia training that used to take place there. The grove of birches in the park was a popular subject, especially from cards from Charlottetown photographer W.S. Louson.  There was also at least one postcard with what became known as “Deadman’s Pond but this new (to me) view was clearly something else.

vic003A plan of Charlottetown’s Victoria Park  in Meacham’s 1880 Atlas of Prince Edward Island showed a pond on the north-west section of the park. However in the mannered plan with its formal paths and drives, and a parade ground and cricket ground (complete with pavilion) the water feature is shown as “proposed lake.”   There are few photographs of this area of the park but comparing the postcard view with the plan, and indeed with the present layout of the park it was immediately clear that the postcard was mis-labeled. Even the proposed lake could look nothing like this and the vantage point for the photo was impossible for a Charlottetown scene. So, if not Charlottetown, where was this pond?

It is amazing how many towns and cities in Canada have a Victoria Park. Because so many communities developed urban parklands during the reign of Queen Victoria it was a popular feature to name after the Empire’s head. A partial list includes the Victoria Parks in London, Niagara Falls, Calgary, Kitchener, Regina, Edmonton, Milton, Truro, Hamilton, Ingersol and Cobourg. I started checking on Google maps to try and match up the postcard view with what appeared on the ground but was saved by the appearance of another postcard which is shown below.  The view is the same, albeit it with lower printing quality and a less flamboyant approach to the hand colouring.

 

The Belleville card does match the present layout of the park in that Ontario community so the Charlottetown card can safely be added to a growing list of postcard errors and omissions. Given the diverse interests of postcard collectors I am sure that someone is specializing in amassing a collection with this focus.

As for the pond at Victoria Park in Charlottetown, it appears that the proposed lake was not built. The swampy corner of the park  was never dug out to make the serpentine lake of the plan and may have been filled in to some extent with the mud removed when Deadman’s Pond was dredged in the 1920s. Even today, when the spot is home to a children’s playground, it is the lowest and dampest section of the park and prone to flooding in storm surges.

Victoria Park 3 backThere is another tenuous link between the Belleville postcard and the one from Prince Edward Island. The back of the Belleville card shows it to be published by Charles Sulman of that city. It is almost certain that  Sulman had nothing to do with the Charlottetown card  however the design of the card back is identical to that appearing on cards published for the Charlottetown firm of Carter and Company so it is not unlikely that they shared a printer.

 

Too Much Charlottetown for a Single Card: An Early P.E.I Panoramic

As postcards became more and more popular in the beginning of the twentieth century publishers began to introduce novelty into their production.  One approach was the panoramic or bifold double card with a wide-angle scene folded to postcard size. Although special cameras had been developed as early as 1904 to record 360 degree panoramas and group shots, most panoramic scenes were taken using conventional photo equipment and by cropping the images to produce the wide angle effect. The sharpness of glass plate negatives could make the results quite striking. However in the case of this card the colour printing appears somewhat “muddy”.

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Bird’s Eye View of Charlottetown Waterfront showing the Beautiful Hillsborough River.  Private Post Card. Haszard & Moore, Importers, Charlottetown, P.E.I.

Landscape paintings had often had a horizontal orientation – hence “landscape” as opposed to “portrait” format – and this seems to have been preferred for most postcards. The panoramic images were reproduced on a number of folding panels, most frequently two, but in some cases three, four or more. Cards with as many as eight panels were produced.

Folded to standard postcard size for mailing the cards did not stand up well to handling and large cards with all panels still attached are scarce.  In some cases only a single panel has survived and a single card without any markings with only one torn edge may be evidence that it was once part of a panoramic card.

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Back of Bird’s Eye view card showing “Printed in Belgium” in the stamp box

The photo on this Charlottetown card was taken from the roof of the Colonial Building looking down Great George Street. Prominent buildings shown include, from left to right, the brick Methodist church, the Presbyterian church, Charlottetown’s Y.M.C.A. building, the Union Bank of Prince Edward Island building, Queen Square School (originally the Christian Brothers School)  with St. Dunstan’s cathedral behind, and the commercial buildings on Richmond street.  The promised “beautiful Hillsborough River” is barely visible in the background. Magnification shows the line of the Hillsborough Bridge visible behind the mass of the Methodist church and helps date the card to after 1905 when the bridge was completed.

Although Haszard and Moore appear to have printed some of the cards bearing their name it is unlike that the Charlottetown Bird’s Eye is one of them.  There is no indication that they possessed the colour presses necessary for the work. On the card itself they are identified as “importers”, and indeed the back of the card shows it was printed in Belgium.

Birds Eye View East river
Bird’s Eye View East River. P.E.I. Museum and Heritage Foundation Collection

Another Haszard and Moore card – Bird’s Eye View East River Showing Hillsboro Bridge, Charlottetown, P.E.I., appears at first glance to be the left hand half of the panoramic card but closer examination reveals this not to be the case. Although likely from the same negative, the East River card is cropped differently. It shows the whole of the Methodist church and a part of the roofline of the Colonial Building which are details absent in the panoramic card. Further, on the panoramic card the title is printed on the face of the card across both halves and any separation of the halves would be easily noticed. This was not always the case and some publishers printed the image both as a panoramic card and as two single image cards.

Whether this is the only experiment of a panoramic card that Haszard and Moore attempted is not known. The only other early panoramic card of Charlottetown that I have is not only a different scene but also is from a different publisher.

 

Another Edwardian Leporello from P.E.I.

IMG_1102BI ended a recent posting with a query concerning additional leporello cards from Prince Edward Island speculating that it was unlikely that a publisher would have printed only one image.

Within a fortnight I was proved correct but in a way I hardly expected. In reviewing illustrations in connection with a blog posting on the Hillsborough Bridge I spotted a reference to a small image at the Public Archives and Records Office. The reason the reference caught my eye was because it was included in a list of other post card views which seemed suspiciously familiar and so when I was next in the Archives I had a look.

“Scene at North Shore, Prince Edward Island” is clearly from the same publisher as the earlier card. It has the same metal hook closure for the mini-card pocket but as the photo shows it has suffered from some discolouration.

IMG_1105BThe card is unused and therefore no date information can be added to what was assumed in the note on the previous card. One difference on the card back is that the wording “book post” and the box for a two cent stamp is provided. This seems a little strange. Book post was a special rate designed for sending a packet of books. The standard post card rate at the time was 1 cent within Canada and to the United States. The letter rate was 2 cents for each ounce.  The book post rate up to 1903 was 1 cent for 4 ounces and it was increased to 1 cent for 2 ounces. The leporello card was heavier and thicker than a standard post card but it appears that the letter rate rather than the book rate was applied.

Surprisingly the images within the card pocket are not the same as for the card discussed earlier. This is a surprise for surely the easiest course would have been to print a common insert and glue it into the card. While both cards share images of the Colonial Building, Hillsborough Bridge, the Post Office, and the Market Building the Winter Steamer card has images of  the Boer War monument and a view of Charlottetown from Victoria Park while the seashore card substitutes a view of Great George Street and a scene on Victoria Row street for the latter images.

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I was certain that I had never seen this card before but in examining the archival folder protecting it I was astonished to find my own handwriting.  When I was assistant archivist in the 1970s I had catalogued this card!  Of course at the time I still held the view that postcards were simply ephemera and were not real historical documents. On this (and on many other things) I would like to think that my views have evolved.

So, for the second time in two months, I wonder if there are more cards of this type out there. While the cards sport P.E.I. views I am not convinced that they were published on P.E.I. Perhaps post card collectors or card scholars have similar cards from other locations. If so I would be most interested  in hearing about them.

The card is held in the collection of the P.E.I. Public Archives and Records Office Accession 3999 item 7.

Haszard & Moore postcards

For several years in the late 19th and early 20th century Haszard and Moore was a landmark in Charlottetown. The printing company and bookstore occupied a prime location on the north side of Grafton Street facing Queen Square, an area called “Sunnyside.” Besides books and magazines the firm handled what were referred to as “notions” and had a stock of toys, gifts and souvenirs. They also did plain and fancy printing and had a number of books to their credit. When the postcard fad hit at the turn of the century Haszard and Moore was well-positioned to extend their stock to cover the new souvenir item. But as a printing firm the company had a significant advantage over their local competitors. They could produce their own cards instead of relying on out-of-province printers such as Warwick & Rutter, McCoy Printing or W.G. MacFarlane.

One of the big differences between early post cards and those produced later is what is called the “undivided back.” In these cards the entire back of the card was devoted to the stamp and the address. No messages were allowed. They had to appear on the face of the card.  If the image occupied the whole face there was no room for correspondence so many of the early publishers left all or a part of the face of the card blank, either by having a smaller image or by dedicating a strip at the bottom of the card for a very short message. In 1902 Great Britain began to allow “divided back” cards on which half of the space could be occupied by the message and  the other half for the address. The move was quickly followed by France and Germany and in December 1903 the Canadian postal regulations were amended to allow for the divided back. It was not authorized in the United States until 1907. This division continues to this day.  However, undivided back cards continued to be published after 1903 and it cannot entirely be relied on for dating. It is not known when the Haszard and Moore cards were published.

Back of a Haszard & Moore card. The image on the address side of the card is a very unusual feature. PARO Accession 3999 item 1

The Haszard and Moore cards appear to be unique in that they also included a second image on the address side of the card. In the case of all the cards I have seen this is a photo of the Colonial Building from the south-east.

The P.E.I. Public Archives and Records Office holds a collection of six un-posted Haszard and Moore cards. This may represent the entire series and I would welcome information about any similar cards.  The cards have several interesting features. The scenes on the cards appear in different formats; an oval for Fairholm and rectangles of differing sizes for the other images. Unlike many card series there are a variety of type faces identifying the several views on the cards. On all of the cards save one the name of the publisher (Haszard and Moore Printers and Stationers, Charlottetown) appears on the lower right face of the card.

On the Haszard and Moore cards there is an additional element. As well as a scenic photograph there are vignettes on the upper right face each card. A wordmark, “Souvenir of Prince Edward Island” is used on the Fairholm and beach scene cards and a version in a different type face on the Post Office card. A stylized crest in green appears on both the Great George Street and Boer memorial card and a blue crest with supporters on the Queen Square card. This introduces an interesting cataloguing dilemma. One large thematic area in postcard collecting is the “patriotic postcard.”  Mike Smith has written the standard text on the subject and he defines “patriotic postcards” as postcards containing one or more of the following attributes: –  a Canadian serviceman, military theme or symbol –  a patriotic verse or slogan –  a prominently displayed Canadian symbol etc. – a Canadian or provincial flag etc. –  a famous Canadian event (e.g. Québec’s tercentenary celebrations) –  a prominent Canadian political figure.  It is probable that not all of these vignettes would fit into the patriotic category and therefore what was clearly published as a single series is artificially divided.  Click to enlarge.

The images themselves are not uncommon and several of them appear on P.E.I. cards from a number of publishers.  A gallery of Haszard and Moore undivided back cards appears below. Click on any card for larger images.

These cards are of high quality but it seems that Haszard and Moore did not continue in the post card publishing business. Their imprint appears on a number of coloured  cards but they appear identical with cards from larger off-Island publishers. Haszard and Moore continued in business until 1912 when they were succeeded by Maritime Stationers at the Grafton Street address.

The lack of publishing information makes attribution difficult for Canadian postcards. The problem is compounded for those publishers and printers from small communities which may have had a very limited selection and small press runs. These Haszard and Moore cards merely lift a small corner of the curtain.

All cards from the P.E.I. Public Archives and Records Office.

An Early Leporello Postcard from Prince Edward Island

Unless you ae a Mozart aficionado or a well-educated and avid post card collector the title of this posting probably will mean absolutely nothing.  Since I am neither, the term “leporello” sent me scurrying to Wikipedia where after some research the mystery was unravelled.

Marco Vinco as LOporello in the San Francisco Opera 2011 production of Don Giovanni. Photo by Cory Weaver from operawest.com
Marco Vinco as Leporello in the San Francisco Opera 2011 production of Don Giovanni. Photo by Cory Weaver from operawest.com

Let’s start with the Mozart because that holds the explanation for the name. Leporello is Don Giovanni’s manservant in Mozart’s 1787 opera Don Giovanni.  Don Giovanni, a young, arrogant, and sexually promiscuous nobleman, abuses and outrages everyone else in the cast until he encounters something he cannot kill, beat up, dodge, or outwit. Don Giovanni, is betrayed to a new conquest by his servant who tells her that he is unfaithful to everyone; his impressive list of seductions and conquests include 640 women and girls in Italy, 231 in Germany, 100 in France, 91 in Turkey and 1,003 in Spain. In displaying the conquests the manservant pulls the list out of the book in an accordion fold. The term leporello is applied to books and publications that use this endless page device. The leporello became quite common in the Victorian era. Panoramic scenes in travel accounts as well as images of culture and customs often used the device. After the development of photography it became an effective way to show very wide images, or a linked series of photographs.

In early postcards the leporello often takes the form of an album of mini images folded into the postcard itself. They were more commonly used in Europe but North American postcard publishers used the leporello as well although they are scarce if not rare. Because of the format the cards do not hold up well to handling. They have to have an inner pocket that protects the mini album and there is much folding and unfolding to see the images.

I hardly knew what to expect when I ordered the card from a German on-line dealer. The photos in the listing were not very good and it was obvious that the card was not in particularly good shape. The face image of the card was an uninspiring view of the winter steamer Stanley in ice but it was not one I had seen before. The photos on the sale site showed only two of the mini images and I would not have been surprised to see that any others had long since come loose and disappeared.

Front of the leporello. The latch pin can be seen holding the image pocket closed.
Front of the leporello. The latch pin can be seen holding the image pocket closed.

The card was pretty banged up. It had obviously been well handled and there were blemishes and folds that may well have been inflicted by the postal authorities or they could simply be from mis-handling over the years.

Leporello card back showing address in France
Leporello card back showing address in France

The back of the card showed it had been mailed from Souris East on P.E.I. on 23 July 1906 and sent to an address in Caen in Calvados district France and then re-addressed to Carteret in Manche.  Again the latch pin holding the mini album flap closed can be seen. As well in this photograph the cardboard core of the card which makes a pocket for the smaller images can be seen.

When I gingerly opened the latch pin I was surprised to find that the contents were not only intact they were in excellent shape.  A total of six images appeared in the folds: Legislative Building and Law Courts, Hillsborough Bridge, Charlottetown from Battery Point, General Post Office, Market Building, and South African Volunteers Monument.

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All of the photographs, save one, were common postcard shots and in fact I had full-card images of all of them in my collection. The images appear to have been used by a number of different publishers but this card helps date them from 1906 or earlier. The remaining photo is one I had not seen before. It shows a still-unfinished Hillsborough Bridge with the swing-span open. Because the last of the spans was not put in place until June of 1905 this card must have been a recent publication when it was purchased and mailed.

I am unaware of any earlier leporello cards from Prince Edward Island and would be interested in knowing if there were other images from this period. It is unlikely that a publisher would have produced only one. Adding this unprepossessing item to my collection shows that cards from Prince Edward Island can run to some fairly exotic specialties.

 

 

 

Where was Pulpit Rock?

The soft sandstone underlying Prince Edward Island is easily sculpted by the wind waves and ice. As the cliffs are eroded they often develop memorable shapes and configurations. In recent years among the more celebrated formations was Elephant Rock not far from North Cape but the constant change in the shorelines mean that the fanciful shapes do not have a long life and Elephant Rock was no exception. Now looking nothing like an elephant, it is evolving into something quite different
When I was a child the Lone Rock at Cavendish was a local landmark. Intriguing as an island at high tide it also had the extra characteristic of having a hole in the rock though which small boys could crawl. However, like Elephant Rock it gradually changed, eventually disappeared and is gone except in memory and some late 1950s postcards.
For early postcard photographers this dramatic rocky shore was an attraction. We did not have rugged mountains or exotic landscapes but we did have this curiously changing shoreline. Certainly early postcards of rocks outnumber those showing beaches by a wide margin. There are a number of views of features such as a stone arch at Darnley, the three sisters formation at Campbelton, and outcrops at both sides of the Charlottetown harbour mouth.

Another famous (at least at the time) sight was Pulpit Rock. Not like any pulpit I have ever seen but I suppose you have to call it something. There is however a slight problem – just where was it?

We have two postcards showing the scene and they are obviously both made from the same photographic image although one is more closely cropped. The differences in the colouring applied by the two publishers can clearly be seen. In both cases the publisher has an identifiable style. Only the Warwick & Rutter card identifies the photographer – in this case W.S. Louson.  Louson had a thing for the sort of rock formation pose – see, for example, his cards of the harbour mouth found on my Sailstrait blog. But more than the difference in appearance the cards have two different locations.

 

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Nature’s Pulpit Kildare Cape, P.E.Island – Carter & Co.

The complexity is compounded by another issue of the same image with slightly a different title. “Nature’s Pulpit” is also located at Kildare Capes as seen in the attached image of a card issued by Carter and Company.   According to Mike Smith’s book on the cards of McCoy Printing the image also appears on another of the McCoy Printing cards – but attached to a different location from the card seen above. Card #94 has a split image – “Gathering Shells” and “Nature’s Pulpit, Kildare, P.E.I.”

 

In the early 1900s Rustico was already a tourist destination with summer hotels and guest houses. It was easily reached from Charlottetown and from a postcard marketing perspective may have been a more attractive location for card sales. Kildare Capes was in the exotic north-west part of the province and was less likely to be actually visited by tourists. We do know however that William Louson has at least one other Kildare Capes postcard to his credit and there are a number of cards of nearby Alberton and Montrose which he could have taken.

Both locations have the eroding headlands which might have been the site of the rock formation but today any trace would be long gone so unless there are other references we may never know for sure. However I am inclined go with the Warwick & Rutter information as they seem to have taken more care with their descriptions.