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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Out of Date: the Author not the Post Card

This is a great example of how correspondence had to be written on a post card prior to March 1, 1907. The publisher of this post card, The Colorado News Company, had mercy on the potential customers and gave them room to write their messages on the borders. At the same time, the publisher was able to print a beautiful picture of St. Peter's Dome and a steam locomotive on the Cripple Creek Short Line.

On 13 April 1897 Lucian D. Ross, Thomas Burk, James L. Lindsay, W.T. Doubt and Kurnel R. Babbitt organized the Cripple Creek District Railway Company to operate a 6.25 mile standard gauge electric line between Cripple Creek and Victor. The Articles of Incorporation were amended 17 November 1899, at which time the line’s name was changed to Colorado Springs and Cripple Creek District Railway. An extension to Colorado Springs opened in April 1901. From 1897 to 1904 the Colorado Springs and Cripple Creek District Railway remained under the control of local investors. After gaining control of the line through stock ownership in 1904, the Colorado & Southern directed operations until 1911. After the line lost money due to competition from the Florence and Cripple Creek Railway and the Midland Terminal Railway, the Colorado & Southern, in 1911, leased the Colorado Springs and Cripple Creek District Railway to the Florence and Cripple Creek. In 1915 this lease was transferred to the Cripple Creek Central Railway, which also controlled the Midland Terminal Railway. By 1917 most rail traffic in the area was directed to the Midland Terminal Railway. The loss of the Bear Creek Bridge in May 1918 cut off all direct traffic from Colorado springs. The Colorado Springs and Cripple Creek District Railway was declared bankrupt in 1919, at which time it went into receivership. All operations ceased in 1920 and the line was sold for scrap.

What is interesting to me about this post card is how the author used it. We can definitely date this post card to exactly March 9, 1909 because of the post mark on the back - we can even add 7:30 in the morning to the date. However, the appearance of the post card tells us that it had existed for two years prior to it being posted. Prior to March 1, 1907 this was the standard look of a post card: picture on the front and address only on the back. On March 1, 1907 people were able to add a message to the left side of a post card. So, the author could have easily written a message on the left and put the address on the right; instead, he or she followed the rules from two years prior. For some people, rules are rules and they are to be followed no matter what.
The publisher of the post card is The Colorado News Company; this was a publisher and distributor of printed items for The American News Company. Their offices were in Denver, Colorado.

The printer of the post card is The American News Company. This blurb is from the Metropolitan Post Card Club in New York City: "Founded by Sinclair Tousey in 1864 this firm became a major distributor of books, magazines, newspapers, comic books and postcards exclusively through their national network of more than 300 affiliated news agencies. Nearly all of their output was in view-cards and they mostly covered the New York, mid-Atlantic region. In addition to distributing postcards, they seem to have published some as well and worked as a middleman for many smaller publishers wishing to produce cards. Most of their cards were printed in Leipzig, Dresden and Berlin, Germany, but they switched to American and French printers during World War One. They often became the focus of litigation from trying to monopolize distribution of printed material in the United States. Their closure in 1957 led to great difficulties in distribution, putting many small publishers out of business as well."
The logo used and the number of the post card (No. A 1210) tells us that this post card was printed in 1906. Again, from the Metropolitan Post Card Club of New York: "Excelsior - A German made card printed in collotype. It was the first series this firm printed and later marketed as their highest quality black & white card (most customers chose this type over their cheaper halftone cards). Almost all cards in this series are printed in black & white, but there are some later examples issued in monochromes of blue, green, and sepia as well as more rare cards that were printed in color and handcolored. Prefix A 1-4999 beginning in 1906" to 1908. There were 4999 post card printings in these two years. Number 1210 is 24% of the way from 1 to 4999. So using interpolation methods we can guess that this post card was printed in the later half of 1906.

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