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Saturday, August 17, 2013

You Can Trust a Post Card Picture! Can’t you?

Here we are again, passing through an orange grove in Southern California. The previous blog post showed the front of a train; this is what the back of a train looks like. I can imagine all the Easterners coming to Southern California for the first time and, as the train passes through the orange groves to get to Los Angeles, crowding the back platform of the last car to get a better look at the trees laden with fruit! These people seem to have been distracted by the camera in the vehicle right behind them – or are scared stiff, afraid that it will crash into them. They do look rather casual, so this is probably a staged photo, after all. The title on the card doesn’t give us a very good perspective as to where in Southern California these tracks are. It simply says, “The ‘Limited’ passing through the Orange Groves, California.” When I was a kid growing up east of Los Angeles, we actually came across orange groves with train tracks through the middle of them – many times in many locations. We used to go for family car rides on Sundays and sometimes this post card is exactly what we saw, minus the train.

When you turn the card over and read the message on the back, you realize that you can trust a post card picture. The message says, “When travelling on the Limited this is one of the first scenes the tourist gets of Southern California. It is exactly as pictured.” So, there we have it. Someone travelled on “The Limited” into Southern California and verified that the picture on the front can be trusted. Hmmmmm.

The post card was published by the Western Publishing & Novelty Co. Los Angeles, Cal. The Metropolitan Post Card Club of New York City tells us that the company existed in Southern California from 1932 until the 1970s. They were a publisher and distributer of California related tourist materials and postcards.

It was printed by (or the picture was taken by) Theo Sohmer. There is a very long an extremely interesting history of Theo Sohmer written for the South Jersey Post Card Club’s newsletter in October of 2006. I recommend that you read page 3 of the newsletter, which can be found here:
The nutshell version is that Theo Sohmer was a prolific photographer for a newspaper who took pictures of many parts of California and sold his photos to the Western Publishing & Novelty Co. He had so many pictures that he even designed a logo for his copyright. You can see it in the upper left corner of the post card.

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If you know anything about the history of the cards, the trains or the locations, please add them.