Monday, December 29, 2014

Handsome -- Historical -- Instructive

On reading the title of this post we are certain your first thought jumped to our founder, John. Just kidding, of course. What the title refers to are cards printed in the 1890s by a company known as Jersey Coffee. The cards commemorated a World's Fair (Also called the Columbian Exposition) held in Chicago in 1893 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the New World in 1492. The cards are known as "trade cards" and signaled the beginning of modern advertising. Manufacturers gave them away to encourage interest in their brand of products. Company salesmen distributed cards to shopkeepers, who passed them along to customers. Some companies inserted trade cards directly into packaged goods as premiums.

We have four cards for you today. The story for each card is told on its back.

The President's House
Washington, D. C.

Sometime during its 120+ years of existence some of the
description was lost but we think you can make it out.
The back starts with this: "New Series Photo-Lithographic View Cards with Jersey Coffee. Handsome -- Historical -- Instructive. One hundred views embracing Columbian Exposition Buildings, Grandest Natural Scenery in the World, and finest Monuments of Ancient and Modern Architecture. One card in each one pound package. No two cards alike in any single case of coffee. This card belongs to the series. Use Jersey Coffee and secure this valuable collection of cards for your home." The remainder of the back describes the view on the front.

We do believe the cards are instructive. We see views representing two of the three branches of USA government ... Executive and Legislative. We bet there is a card showing the Supreme Court ... representing the Judicial branch ... but we have not found it, if it exists.

Those of you who are regular followers may be wondering what drew John's attention to these cards. We will show you in the next post ... a few cards that featured the relatively new (at that time) Yellowstone National Park.

Thank you for stopping by John's Island.


  1. Very neat cards! What a great way to learn about government and history!

  2. Very neat cards, and I learned a little bit when I read them. I would think the Supreme Court might not be as easy to make a card from, since it changes with the people who are in it. It does make me wonder who was on it when these cards were created. And BTW, John, it doesn't bother me at all that you don't follow my other blog. It's a totally different animal. I'm just glad you include one of them in your daily life! :-)

  3. You find the most interesting cards. And for a time when folks couldn't travel to see things for themselves, this must have been great fun.

  4. I sometimes wonder if any of this has been recorded any where or is it only left on a few collector post cards.

  5. You have some fantastic cards in your collection.


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