Saturday, December 6, 2008

Vintage Holiday Postcards




These are vintage postcards designed by my favorite woman designer of this time [cards made between 1905 to 1917] Ellen H. Clapsaddle. Ms. Clapsaddle was the most prolific postcard and greeting card artist of her time. She hailed from New York. She was an only child whose parents encouraged her to draw and paint. She never married and spent her time drawing, sketching and painting the local people. She got a job illustrating cards with the International Art Company. They sent her to Europe to study art. She then went to work for the Wolf Company a subsidiary of International Art. She became their sole illustrator and artist. They became very successful together.

Ms. Clapsaddle invested her money along with the Wolf brothers in the factories in Germany that produced the cards. When the first World War broke out the factories were bombed and work ceased. A lot of them were completely damaged. Ms. Clapsaddle was in Germany when this was going on. She was found by one of the Wolf brothers six months after the war was over roaming the streets in Germany poor, hungry and sick. He brought her back to New York but she was never the same. At fifty five, she had lost her health, her ability to reason, and her mind. She never was able to work again. She died alone, sick and mentally ill. I am thinking she experienced the bombings in a very up close and personal way. Watching people die is not something anyone is ever prepared for. Then with no work or papers to leave Germany, or any way to get in touch with any one from the States she must have been very scared. It must have been horrific for her.

I look at her cards and they are so cheerful and full of hope. I think she does such a sweet job with the children's faces. The children look like children. So many of the children during this time were made to look like little Lolita's. Her children always seem so innocent and like someone I know. I hope you can use these in your Christmas art. I think she would have loved the idea.

6 comments:

Brenda said...

these cards are adorable. Thanks for the background, it was interesting and very sad.

L Melohn said...

Thanks for sharing. I love old postcards. I have some, but none by Clapsdale, I don't think.

Sandie R said...

These are wonderful. I love her images of children. Thanks for the share and if you stop over at my blog http://wwwsandiesanctuary.blogspot.com/ I've left something for you there.

Sharon said...

Thank you Elizabeth. These are precious. I had one of these but had not seen the others. I am so glad you included the story, it makes them all the more dear.

Dianne said...

what a sad story...I have always enjoyed this artist's work, and agree that she had a talent for the spirit & joy of children...I had never heard about the end of her life. but she continues to give joy to us through her work...
Dianne

Diane said...

Thanks so much for posting the illustrations.
:Diane