Poissons d’Avril — April Fool

Devinez qui Vous l’envoie? (Guess who sent it to you?)

These are  old French postcards for April 1, April Fools Day. The postcards usually include the words 1er Avril (April 1st) or Poissons d’Avril (April Fool). Other words on these cards often relate to expressions of love. Sometimes the cards just feature fish, with or without other words. Fish are featured because, in France and some other countries, the April Fool’s Day tradition is known as “April Fish.”  The custom involves attempting to attach a paper fish to the victim’s back without being noticed. 

Vous savez combien je vous aime! Mais il est bien lourd tout même. (You know how much I love you! But it is very heavy all the same.)

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French New Year “Carte Postale” Postcard


Bonne Année — Happy New Year

I especially like this French New Year postcard because it is a postcard showing a postcard.

The postcard (Carte Postale) held by the lady has the greeting “Le gui est un Porte-Bonheur” (Mistletoe is a lucky charm). Mistletoe frames the top half of the card. It is hard to tell what the lady is holding, but it is probably a small bunch of mistletoe.

The shield near the bottom has this greeting in French:

S’il est vrai qu’il porte bonheur
C’est avec joie que je l’adresse
J’y tous les vœux de mon cœur
Mes baisers et mille tendresses.

Translation (courtesy of Google):

If it is true that it carries happiness (is lucky)
It is with joy that I address
I wish you all my heart
My kisses and a thousand tendernesses.

Bonne Année — Happy New Year

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Boys’ World Sunday School Paper


This postcard has an unusual design on the address side. Father Time is showing a young boy a book with the dates 1902 and 1903 on adjacent pages. The book is resting on a cornucopia overflowing with packages labeled HAPPINESS, HEALTH, SUCCESS, and  CONTENT.

The other side of the postcard announced that the New Year’s number of the Boys’ World weekly paper would be given out in Sunday School on Sunday January 4, 1903. Boys’ World was one of several Christian papers published by David C. Cook Publishing Co. The paper was described as “a large, four-column, eight-page, illustrated paper, printed in colors . . . full of stories, incidents, and news on subjects in which boys are interested.”


The David C. Cook Publishing Co. sold a wide variety of Sunday School supplies. Their large 1908 Annual Catalogue is online here. Page 13 of that catalogue has an image of a Boy’s World issue. At that time it was stated that “It is less than six years since the Boys’ World and the Girls’ Companion were started. They now go to more than a million readers.”


The catalogue had a variety of types of post cards: holiday, teachers’, bible text, birthday, cradle roll, and presidential. Christmas Novelty post cards on page 76 included letters from Santa and hold-to-lights. The Presidential Post Cards were sold in a set of 25, one card for each President,  tied with red, white, and blue ribbon.

 The David C. Cook Publishing Company was founded in 1875 and merged with another company in 2016. There is a website at http://www.davidccook.com/

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A Christmas Toast


Here’s a health to all those that I love
Here’s a health to all those that love me
Here’s a health to all those
that love them that love those
That love those, that love them that love me.

This postcard was published by Raphael Tuck and is signed by artist Geo. Mason. The online Tuck Database lists four cards here in this Christmas Series No. C. 177 of Old Time Character Studies. Three of the cards are pictured, all showing men with drinking vessels in hand. This is the only one shown that includes a verse on the card. These postcards were first used in 1907.

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The Month of December


This postcard shows a calendar of December 1911. It is part of a monthly calendar series used for advertising.  The name of the advertiser, Goldberg Bowen & Co., appears at the bottom of the front and with the advertising message on the back. Goldberg Bowen & Co. was an early San Francisco, California grocery company. The postcard is Copyright 1910 by Johnston Dienstag  Ayres, S.F., a well known advertising agency. It was published by Edward H. Mitchell, San Francisco, California.

The front of the postcard tells about the month of December and its name:

In the Roman calendar this was the tenth month, the Latin word for ten being Decem. It was a month of Festivals, the principal one being the Feast of Saturnalia, when all work ceased and everyone, even the slaves, celebrated, without restraint.


The back of the postcard has suggestions for remembering friends at Christmas with the “good things” you can get from Goldberg, Bowen & Co.

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Greetings for Easter and April 1


This old French postcard has greetings for both Easter and April 1. The left side of the card has the words Joyeuses Pâques (Happy Easter) and an Easter egg. The right side has the words Premier Avril (First of April) and a fish. “April fish” is a tradition in France and some other countries. The tradition includes attempting to attach a paper fish to someone’s back without being noticed.

The postmark on this postcard appears to be 30 – 3  07. Easter fell on March 31 in 1907, so it would have been appropriate to combine greetings for Easter and April 1.

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Maple Sugar Time in Vermont

Vermont is the leading maple syrup-producing state in the country, producing about 41 percent of the United States’ maple syrup.  The maple sugaring process has been illustrated on many postcards, most of which are from Vermont. These postcards are mainly form the 1950s and 1960s.

Methods similar to those shown on the postcards were used for a century following the Civil War,  and some syrup is still produced using methods like these. However, there are newer less labor-intensive methods also with high tech processing equipment and  tubing systems  that take the sap directly from the tree to the sugarhouse.


GATHERING THE SAP FOR THE FAMOUS VERMONT MAPLE SYRUP. Maple sugar making is one of the oldest agricultural enterprises in New England. For many years the production of maple sugar was an important part of the self-sustaining program found on every farm. The family’s yearly needs for sugar were thus supplied. Today, while maple syrup continues to be sold in many types, the principal sales are in syrup and candy form.


SUGARING IN VERMONT. In the early spring holes must be drilled into the maple trees and spouts inserted from which the sap bucket is hung. Then the wait begins for the warm days and freezing nights which cause the sap to run.




When winter finally releases its icy grip on the countryside, the first sign of spring is the gathering of maple sap. Shown here are trees being tapped and the sap being loaded for transport to the sugar house.




MAPLE SUGAR TIME. In the early spring the sap begins to flow. Ideal weather for good “runs” of sap is when there is thawing in the daytime and freezing during the night.




SAP BEING POURED INTO GATHERING TANK. Note the clear, watery consistency of the sap. It tastes sweet, testing from 1½ to 4 per cent sugar. This sugarbush has been cleared of scrub brush and small trees, and a tractor works fine here.


NEAR THE END OF THE RUN–VERMONT SUGAR ORCHARD IN LATE SPRING. Making Maple Syrup and Sugar during February and March of each year has become a tradition in Vermont. Here the trees have been tapped and the buckets hung. Now the sap is being collected and when boiled will produce pure Vermont Maple syrup and Sugar. Vermont has thousands of Sugar Orchards similar to this one in East Central Vermont.


Water boils off as steam and maple sap becomes thicker. After testing with thermometer or by hydrometer, it is drawn off as syrup, being continually replaced with fresh sap. This final boil is often done in separate finishing pans to better control the exact density.


Processed maple syrup is finally filtered through felt, special paper, or canton flannel. This strains out the niter, which is a crystalline salt or sugar sand, always contained in syrup. There are three grades of syrup.


To keep maple syrup fresh it is packaged in airtight sterilized containers. Fancy, or grade AA syrup is light amber in color with finest maple flavor. Grade A is medium amber with stronger flavor. Grade B is dark amber, possible cloudy, with strong flavor.

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