What’s in the Mail?

Are modern tourist postcards kaput? According to an article from the Miami Herald online edition, postcards are no longer on the itinerary for many travelers. Doug Hanks, a travel writer for the newspaper, interviewed Miami Beach visitors and asked questions about postcards. He even met thirtysomethings Victor and James, who were dubbed “postcard virgins” since they had never sent a postcard! Most of his interviewees preferred to share photos via cell phone. Immediacy and personal involvement were mentioned with reference to such places as Gianni Versace’s mansion (shown on a card from Scenic Florida Distributors). Ever since the fashion designer was murdered more than decade ago, his mansion has become a popular South Beach attraction. “Why buy a shot of the Versace mansion,” the article asked, “when you can e-mail someone a digital pic with you in front of the gates?”

mount rushmore postcard
Regardless of what a Florida travel writer assumed from his limited interviews, tourism postcards are still being issued and purchased. Otherwise, Mount Rushmore would not keep publishing souvenir postcards. A recent search of their website found this folder for the Rushmore Collection. Posing on the front are some of the 400 laborers who toiled 14 years to carve the “Shrine to Democracy.” Inside, a dozen continental-sized sepia and lightly tinted postcards are based on “original objects contained in the National Park Service curatorial collection.” These show the bare mountain before any carving began, the granite façade coming alive with its massive faces, and sculptor Gutzon Borglum, upon whose design (which was changed nine times) and guidance the presidential heads emerged. The site’s other option, a 20-minute Greetings from South Dakota “postcard DVD,” comes packaged inside a cardboard mailer. In sharp video photography with a music-only soundtrack, the DVD supplies an overview of Mount Rushmore, Custer State Park where pronghorn and bison graze, Wind Cave and the Badlands. The 12-card set costs $3.99 and the DVD is $9.99. For orders up to $20, shipping and handling is $5. You can order online at http://www.mtrushmorebookstore.com/cat-21-1-20/Postcards–Notecards.htm; phone 800-699-3142 or write Debbie Ketel, Publications Manager, Mount Rushmore History Association, 13000 Highway 244, Building 31, Suite 2, Keystone, SD 57751.

recipe postcard
It’s fun to find collectible postcards that fit into more than one category. Last summer, for instance, I purchased this nifty antique “recipe for you” combo from eBay. As a please-write postcard, the design positions two pixies at the top who stir up a reminder that mail is overdue. They instruct, “Take a pen, a sheet of paper, a small amount of ink, an ounce of good intention stirred in slowly. Mix all well together and add a postage stamp.” From this recipe card, rather than cookies or a casserole, “The result will be the letter that you owe me!” The only problem with postcards like this is where to file them.

disney's tomorrowland postcardFor Jay Patel, this has proven to be a very busy year so his latest Disney Digest is dated December 2006. That eight-page issue covers Disneyland’s 50th anniversary with commemorative cards by Rick Geary, Thomas Kincade, and the Henry Ford Museum, which inspired Walt Disney for his first amusement park. My favorite illustration features this Shag (aka artist John Agle) interpretation of Tomorrowland. Dig that bouffant and those wicked wheels! Also touched on are Disney postcards from Israel and new releases from Epcot and Mission Space. Four-issue US subscriptions still go for $6 (Canada/Mexico costs $7 and $10 for everywhere else). Jay hopes to find time to organize his cards and compile another issue soon. Write Jay Patel, International Disney Postcard Collectors Club, 4180 Mayfair Lane, Port Orange, FL 32129.

Over the past 14 years, John Eagle photographed all of the Irish lighthouses (several from helicopter) and also shot numerous views of County Cork, where he lives in Ireland. Oil paintings, which he creates from memory, are his latest endeavor. On his website he writes, “I live beside the sea, live and breathe it. The moods, sunlight breaking through for a fleeting moment” can be witnessed on his “Returning Home, West Cork” postcard, which shows a sheep farmer in the lower left coming back with his flock. Recently John updated his site to include copies of his entire postcard output, which numbers more than 300, along with captions and relevant data. Go to www.johneaglephotography.com and click on “catalogue.” And to look at lighthouse postcards by locale, click on “counties.” You can order postcards, prints and paintings directly from his site, too.

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