During the height of the postcard craze in the early 1900s millions of cards were produced and sent or collected. Moving from storage in shoeboxes to specially designed postcard albums collectors became more sophisticated in their preservation methods. Today many collectors mirror the early enthusiasms with topical collections (horses, hotels, mountains, libraries, butterflies etc.) or geographical ones. The latter group is probably the more common. My own interests are in the early cards for Prince Edward Island – early being before World War 1.
As the interest in cards grew additional products capitalizing on the cards began to be produced. One such product was the portfolio of cards rendered suitable for framing through the addition of a backing vignette neatly framing the card. These were probably produced by the original card publisher but may have been an “after market” item developed for collectors. This provided an easily framed version of the standard card which although often very attractive was also too small to display effectively in the Edwardian parlor. The portfolio was an excellent souvenir or gift for the tourists in the region.
The example in my collection consists of a set of five pages – although the original number could have been more – in an attractive folder measuring 295 mm by 230 mm. It is probable that the design was used for multiple locations with the name of the city or province inserted for different press runs.
The printed 290 x 225 mm vignette pages are all different and each has a specific theme which seem to be related to the various recreational activities in which a visitor may be interested. These include; fishing, canoeing and rowing, golf and travel, hunting, and sailing. The vignettes are artistically designed in an art deco format. The cards are tipped onto the backing and owing to the thickness of the backing paper it is not possible to view the card backs. The card identification is based on identical cards in my collection.
There is no direct relationship between the subject of the vignettes and the cards themselves. The cards are all published by the McCoy Printing Company of Moncton and seem to be from the Acadian Series. That series numbers at least 15 cards according to The McCoy Printing Company Picture Postcard Handbook 1900 to 1910 by Mike Smith and William P. Angley and it is possible that the portfolio originally held the entire series. It is more likely that there was a smaller selection.
My portfolio holds the following cards: Street Scene in Charlottetown P.E.I. / Victoria Park & Harbor near Charlottetown P.E.I. (Acadian Series #82), Shore Scene at Keppoch Prince Edward Island (Acadian Series #80), Law Courts Building, Charlottetown, P.E.I. (Acadian Series #74), Pastoral Scene, Prince Edward Island (McCoy card using Valentine& Sons image #100923, not in the Smith listing), Post Office, Charlottetown, P.E.I. (Acadian Series #17)
Portfolio gallery. Click on any card to see enlarged images.
I would be very interesting in learning of any other portfolios of this type which may have survived and whether this frameable vignette was in common use.