Christmas Cats - Vintage postcards at Toronto Public Library

December 19, 2012 | Bill V.

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The other day my coworker Monika showed me a photo of her cat Mouse (no joke!) dressed for Christmas.  I thought to myself "Yes, that is darned cute, but speaking of cute have you seen our vintage postcard collection?"

Mouse the cat


Did you know the Toronto Reference Library has an extensive vintage postcard collection?  You may have read earlier blog posts on our Halloween or Thanksgiving holiday postcards?   Or you may have seen the Remembrance Day post on a WW1 card showing Canadian troops on the French Front.

Below please find some cards on the theme of cats - these cards date circa 1910 or so and they are all chromolithographs produced in Germany - mainly in the Saxony area.  The card below is by the English firm Raphael Tuck and Sons but it is produced in Saxony. Tuck cards are easy to identify as they always have a company mark - they often have a post card or series no - here no 8209 - and they had a Royal Warrant so they often included that information.



The Christmas Pudding card below was sent to a Toronto address in 1910. I like the Anthropomorphis of the cat as chef and the other animals sitting around the table waiting for the Christmas Party - I see a variety of cats, dogs and even some bears.   A Christmas pudding would certainly qualify for "Hearty Xmas Wishes".



I would suggest these two pretty kittens below are in love - talk about anthropomorphism.  I like the gentle allusion to kissing beneath the holly and mistletoe.


I finish with what I consider the most charming cat Christmas postcard - the kitten snowball fight around the snow dog. You can just make out that it is embossed and has been further embellished with glue and glitter (almost bedazzled!) outlining the kittens. In reddish hand written letters it has "From Minneapolis" - so it was customized for that geograhic market - possibly even there rather than at the manufacturer.



If you like early photographs / images / postcards of Toronto and Canada visit the Digital Archive which includes rare historical pictures, maps, manuscripts, ephemera and digitized books from our Special Collections for research, study and discovery.

Toronto Public Library has some of its photo/ephemera collections online at  Pinterest and Flickr as well as many of its past exhibits and displays in virtual exhibitions. Come visit us online or in person.

If you are interested in collecting postcards or knowing more about them did you know that Toronto has it's very own Postcard Club - TPC.   We also carry their official newsletter Card Talk in the Arts Dept of the Toronto Reference Library - 5th floor.

If you are interested in doing further research you may enjoy the book Vintage postcards for the holidays : identification and value guide.

Vintage postcards for the holidays  identification

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you, your family and your pets too.