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World War I Postcards

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The WWI Postcard Collection is a unique and fascinating part of the Cooper K. Ragan Military Collection at Texas A&M University’s Cushing Library. The collection houses 152 postcards from the Great War, 1914-1918. Inherited from Dominic Hibberd, the original collector of the cards is an English biographer, most noted for his biographies of Wilfred Owen and Harold Monro, London poets who both authored wartime verses. The postcards hail from a larger collection of Hibberd’s research materials, and the specimens in the WWI Postcard Collection all exhibit popular and prevalent symbols, flags, sentiments, jargon, songs, heroes, and images from that era. While the collection is mostly British, it does contain French and German items. The collection shows a progression of sentiment, moods, and themes throughout the course of the war.


Sample highlights of this collection are:


Sweetheart postcards. The sweetheart cards in this collection depict a soldier writing a letter, deep in thought about a girl back home, whose image also appears on the card. These cards are also available in the reverse scenario, with the young woman writing to her soldier sweetheart. For Old Time’s Sake and In Friendship’s Name, along with others, provide examples of this type of card.


Hold to Light (HTL) cards. HTL cards are postcards which when held to the light provide a different view. This collection contains five HTL cards, all transparencies that reveal an image, or missing part of the visible image, when help up. Additionally, four of the postcards are also puzzle postcards, providing riddles to encourage the recipient to hold up the card. Angels in a Night Sky, Puzzle (1), Puzzle (2), Puzzle (3), and Puzzle (4) are all examples of this collectible and popular type of postcard.

Megan McLawhon provided original descriptions for the postcards. French and German transcriptions and translations were supplied by Helene Goloy and David Chroust, respectively.

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