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~ Kathy M.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Letters to Litha: Victorian Swatiska Postcards

Hello, Sepia Saturday Friends and Visitors!

Today's prompt for Sepia Saturday had to do with posters urging folks to sacrifice for the war effort.  I found a link that had a bunch of them, and you can CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE VARIETY.   As I was looking online for war poster samples, the one below caught my eye.  A strong recommendation for carpooling that piled on a huge guilt trip if you didn't:

 Source: Tree

Of course, that made me think of how evil Hitler was and what harm that he brought to the world.  That, in turn, reminded me of Europe and swastikas and some old postcards that were mailed to my Great Grandma Litha in the early 1900's.

This one is of Eaux Chaudes, a spa in France, though I can't read the date that it was sent to Litha Letsom.  It was before she was married though, so sometime during the first decade of 1900.  I was rather surprised that Dora found the card to be not pretty.

Dear Litha,

What is the matter with you?  Haven't heard word from you for a long time.  We are doing the cooking out here now alone except for Dottie's help.  You know how much that is.  We are all well.  I wish you would answer very soon.  Dora.

On the top, it reads:  "This isn't a pretty card I know, but it is all I can get.  There are not many nice post cards out there anymore."

Folks were always getting after Granny and Grandpa for not writing back in a timely manner.

Before Hitler turned the swastika into a Nazi symbol, it was a sign of love and life, good luck and light.  At the bottom of this post there is a short video that shows many Victorian swastika postcards.  In addition, here is a link to the history of the swastika and it's meaning over time:

June 18, 1910

Dear Aunt Litha, 

I will send you a card today to let you know Hazel is still improving, she sat up awhile today. 


At least Theo didn't lecture Grandma Litha about not writing back.  Writing his name was about all that he could handle at the time.

Update:  On Saturday, Mom gave me these two pages and they go along nicely with this post, so I am adding them.

So, there you are, my friends.  If you enjoyed this story, please visit my Sepia Saturday friends by "CLICKING HERE" to find other neat photos and stories.  To read more about my family and other stories featuring old photos, memories and more, please look for this picture of me and my dad on the left-hand sidebar and read whatever else catches your fancy.  Thanks so much for visiting!

~ Kathy M. 

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

At Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy, if you miss a day, you miss a lot!  All material on this post is copyrighted and not for use without my permission ...Please click here to go to my home page and see what is happening in Mayberry today.
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Queen Bee said...

It's so bizarre to learn that the Swastika was once associated with good luck, light, life and love. I never knew that until reading your post tonight. So a positive symbol was hijacked to become a symbol of hate, evil and death. Wow...that's a sobering thought.

Linda Reeder said...

Interesting little history lesson here. It's such a 180 for that little symbol, from love and good wishes to evil.

Karen S. said...

Oh my that first poster is a bit scary isn't it. What a way to try to break people of not car0pooling (they still really don't in Minnesota) far too many single drivers. Funny that even back then there was a push for it! It is strange and sad how something beautiful and good can be changed terribly. This was quite an interesting post you sliced for us today, thanks! Oh I liked the child scribbling on the postcard too!

forgetmenot said...

Hi, Kathy, Love the old postcards. I never knew that about the swastika symbol--who would have ever thought that!!!! Hope all is going well and you are enjoying the summer--hard to believe it is almost over. Have a terrific weekend. Mickie :)

Peter said...

Thanks for educating me on the Swastika history. You wonder which sick mind turned it into a symbol of evil.

Little Nell said...

I did know about the swastika symbol Kathy but it was lovely to view that gentleman's collection of pre-war postcards. I too wish the Navajo good luck in their bid to reclaim the symbol, but one wonders whether this will ever be possible when it stood for so much which was evil. I hope they succeed.

Wendy said...

Kathy, this is a wonderful post starting with that poster and connecting it to your postcard collection. Like everyone else, I'm surprised at the history of the Swastika. "Love, life, luck, and light" must have been the "Live Laugh Love" of its day! HA!

ScotSue said...

A fascinating history lesson, as I did not know the background to the swastika, and your psotcards are lovely.

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Very interesting post! I think the "not very pretty card" is quite lovely!

Postcardy said...

I enjoyed the swastika postcard video. I noticed that the man even had a swastika that looked like it is tattooed on his finger.

Jana Last said...

Very interesting and informative post! That carpooling "guilt trip" poster is quite something! Wow!

Bob Scotney said...

I've learned a lot from Sepia Saturday but I would never have thought that the swastika represented anything other that evil.

Tammy said...

I'd heard that about the swastika but had never seen an example before. Amazing! I too am rather blown away by that trip with Hitler!!

Anonymous said...

I knew about the origin of the swastika, but have never seen this symbol in its original use on postcards. Thank you for sharing!

Nick Wilford said...

Shame what Hitler did to the Swastika. It was widely used in India, I believe?

Sheila @ A Postcard a Day said...

I imagine the swastika won't lose it's Nazi associations until long after there is anyone left who remembers the war.

Alan Burnett said...

I do love this kind of post : when you take the thread of a theme and then follow to see where you take it, always with the guarantee that the journey will be fascinating.

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