Gabrielle Ray

'Gabrielle Ray said, 'I am always dancing; I love it! When I don't dance, I sing. What else is there to do?'

Memories of the past – The Argus (Melbourne, Vic.) – 1942


Memories of the past - The Argus (Melbourne, Vic.) - Saturday 12 September 1942

 

An old postcard album revives memories of the past

 Ideas were simpler and sentiments more straightforward when Edward VII reigned

 By Z. B. Webb

 Nowadays the postcard album is tucked away in the dark corner of a cupboard or set upon the highest shelf, to the mercy of the dust and the silverfish. But, 30 years ago the postcard craze had reached such heights of popularity that its devotees even posted cards to themselves, since an album had to be filled with cards that had been through the post.

An old album recently brought to the light of day reveals the hobby of the early century, bringing back memories of half forgotten days.

The year 1907 is heralded in by a postcard depicting the numerals, formed of forget-me-nots being carried by 4 boys, each holding aloft a shamrock. The recipient of the card would have no difficulty in deciphering the message of luck during the year with a hint that the sender be not forgotten.

Old songs are brought to remembrance by sets of cards, each one bearing averse of the ditty. Sad songs they were, in the beginning of the century. “When I Lost You,” “Don’t Forget Mignonette,” “It’s Only a Beautiful Picture In a Beautiful Golden Frame.”

Photographs of actresses formed a hobby in themselves. There were Mabel Love, Phyllis and Zena Dare, Gabrielle Ray, Pauline Chase, Carrie Moore, and a host of others.

Tinselled cards became the boom, and, for a small charge, stationers would inscribe a name or message, as well as decorate a picture. The writing was done with gum, the tinsel shaken upon it, and, when the gum dried, the words would shine forth in luminous magnificence. So carefully the tinselled cards were preserved. The old album still has the protecting layers of tissue paper over the gleaming inscriptions.

A Japanese card, showing a map of Japan, with the characteristic writing, another with the picture of a Japanese lady, tell of a small boy visiting the foreign warships and fraternising with the sailors.

Memories of an old wreck are revived by a picture of the sinking ship, going down with its flags flying. A Past and-Present series shows Melbourne Cricket-ground, 1860, and Melbourne Cricket ground Today, the “Today” being, to modern eyes, very much a yesterday.

The comic section exhibits mainly the practical joke type of humour “If you don’t see the point, you’d better not sit down till you do” is the caption illustrating an old man about to sit on a chair while a grinning youngster in the rear surveys a huge tack upon the chair seat.

Another old Joke is the perennial one of a swimmer in a lake watching a bull making havoc with the swimmer’s clothes upon the shore. To the modern mind the bather need not be afraid to leave the water and walk home, since the old time bathing gown Is a full dress uniform in Itself.

The Dam Family At The Seaside is one of a series depicting Mr and Mrs I. B. Dam, Mr U. B Dam, Miss O Dam, the Dam Twins, the Dam Slavey, the Dam Dog, the Dam Cat, and the Dam Photographer. Nowadays, there does not seem much humour in the group, but, to the last generation, the family was probably very funny.

Imitation stamps seem to have been popular, printed representations forming decorations around many of the views. Cats were favourite subjects of postcard artists. There are lively kittens playing ball, some tearing flowers, and others in mischief with a sewing basket.

Christmas cards are mostly of the English variety, the landscapes being covered with snow and the borders being surrounded by holly. Efforts to be truly Australian produce Binghi, au natural or partly civilised “Australian aborigines with kangaroo,” “Group of West Australian natives,” “Aborigines ready for a corroboree.” In the last picture “ready for a photograph” seems a better description, for, although garishly painted the warriors are old men, with sagging bodies, and dressed in trousers of various designs from slacks to plus fours.

To modern minds, the hobby of postcard collecting seems a strange pastime, but every craze has its day. No doubt, the next generation will look at old crossword puzzles and marvel at people having been amused by them.

 

February 20, 2014 - Posted by | Actress, Deltiology, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. I collect postcards, and I very much enjoyed this description of a vintage album. How I would love to have an album like that! Needless to say, I do not collect postcards from our modern day, but mine are also from the Edwardian and Victorian eras.. so I collect the SAME postcards as those in question in this wonderful article 🙂

    Comment by Gunnvor Karita | February 21, 2014 | Reply

    • Thank you for your comment, it’s always satisfying to know that people enjoy my cards and “finds.” Like you I collect Edwardian era cards, mainly actresses and social history cards. There are quite a few on my other blog such as Maude Fealy, Lily Elsie and Gertie Millar. I recently inherited an old postcard album that I remember as a child when I visited my Nanna, sadly too few actresses but the others are, as mentioned in the article a reminder of a less rushed and and perhaps less cynical time.

      Comment by summertime75 | February 21, 2014 | Reply


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