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Easter Witch - While it should be of no surprise that images of witches were used on Halloween cards, they found there way onto other holiday cards as well in places where old traditions still held sway like Sweden. It was long believed that the power of witches was strong this time of year and it became tradition during the 19th century to leave decorated invitations to a witches’ Sabbath at the doors of friends and neighbors. By the 1890’s printed postcards had replaced the older handmade cards and they became very common. Illustrators became more creative with this genre as time went on depicting these witches in a variety of manner from old hags to pretty young girls to sexy women.
Elevated Trains - The billowing smoke produced by locomotives forced many train tracks near urban areas into trenches and railroad stations to be moved to the furthest edges of town. But neither was a useful solution to developing inner city mass transit. The cheapest and fastest way was to build elevated tracks (els) over existing roads or streets. While many els passed over busy streets others traveled along rural roads attracting development along their routes. Once electric powered trains replaced steam engines many of these noisy structures were torn down and the transit lines turned into subways. Some neighborhoods however were not considered worthy of such an expensive conversion and some el lines stand to this day. Many postcards were made of elevated train lines but images with early locomotives are rare.
Elves - These small human like super-natural creatures first appear in German mythology and later turn up in Norse, then English tales. Many different types of stories surround elves as they are commonly related to matters of health, money, and dreams. Elves tend to live underground or in forests and can be quite mischievous. They appear most often in fantasy postcards but their long mythic tradition has allowed them to be placed in other venues as well. It was in the United States that elves became associated with Santa Claus.
Embossed - A number of different card types were produced using embossing. Many holiday and greeting cards used this technique but they do not fall into this category for they were usually only lightly embossed. The true embossed card has a high relief and a second piece of card stock is glued to its back so it can be written upon. While some of these cards were left a pristine white, most were colored with an airbrush. This method of coloring is hard to control and each card can look very different from the next. Embossing was used to create many garish looking cards but it was also employed on many fine artist signed cards as well.
Embroideries - This variation of the silk card was largely produced in France during the First World War for British and American troops who could afford their high price. The embroideries would be sewn in homes, and then sent to a shop to be made into a card. While many patriotic and sentimental cards were mailed home under cover, many were also purchased as souvenirs at the war’s end. This type of card was also produced in more limited numbers during World War Two.
Esperanto - Postcards have been printed in the international language of Esperanto since the early 20th century. These cards also depict the gatherings of the Esperanto World Congress and the various leaders of the movement. Cards with messages written in Esperanto can also fall into this genre.
Etchings - Cards with original etchings on them became popular in the 1920’s. While most were in black & white, many employed a variety of methods to add color. Because only small amounts of an individual image would be made, unusual techniques that could not stand up to long press runs or that were too costly for mass production were sometimes employed on these cards. Even though some of these are really hand signed, they were usually created by lesser known artists and most are not valued much more than ordinary postcards today. While many are simply drawn some reach the quality of a fine art print. Etched or engraved cards tended to be made in Europe and in small quantities. Sometimes an ink drawing would be reproduced lithographically to simulate an etching. Reproductions of etchings do not fall into this genre.
Ethnic - Cards depicting the lifestyle or dress of any non-mainstream group can be considered ethnic. Immigrant communities, Chinese or Jewish enclaves in American cities, Europeans in traditional dress, and people native of non-Western lands all fall into this category. These cards can be very instrumental in illustrating social attitudes to specific groups within certain periods. In Europe these cards are often refered to as Types.
Ethnic Displays - For most societies there has always been a fascination with people from different lands. As Western nations expanded their territories by acquiring overseas colonies, access to these people increased while their stature became less threatening. Natives of other lands had often been brought before royal courts but by the latter 19th century they were being used in displays at expositions and zoos to satisfy the public’s curiosity. Likewise they became perfect subject matter for postcards and these ethnic displays were often captured on them.
Exaggeration - This American form of novelty cards often depicts produce, game, or farm animals in larger than life situations. Everything is bigger in America. Most were produced in the Great Plains of the United States and Canada between 1905 and 1915 but they are not limited to this place and time. They majority take the form of photomontage real photo postcards playing on the notion that photographs don’t lie.
Exposition - Cards have been produced for the many expositions of the 19th Century to the Worlds Fairs of today. Although many exhibitions contracted a single publisher to have a large set of official cards made to depict their attractions, other publishers would often take advantage of these crowds and make cards of these events as well. The publics interest in early exhibition cards helped spur the postcard industry. Cards of special anniversary events that were celebrated in great fashion can also fit within this genre.