Welcome to my blog, featuring various pieces from my collection of Oz books, artwork and memorabilia!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween 1908

Just in time for Halloween - here's another postcard with an Oz connection, from about 100 years ago. This was produced by the Gibson Art Co. of Cincinnati, Ohio. Gibson was the oldest American greeting card firm, started in 1850, and was still in business in the 1990s as Gibson Greetings. In 2000 they became part of American Greetings.

The image has clearly been adapted from John R. Neill's illustration for the copyright page of L. Frank Baum's Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz. Gibson began producing cards in 1907, and Dot/Wiz was the Oz book for 1908, so I would guess that this card might be from that time. The company produced cards until around 1917, so the card may have been produced later in that period, but I think it's an early example.

I find it fascinating that someone went to the trouble to reproduce Neill's Scarecrow drawing - including the club he's holding and the emerald he's sitting on! - rather than coming up with a more generic image. I wonder if it was an intentional Oz reference, or simply drawn by a fan of the books. The artist is unknown, as were many of the Gibson postcard artists. I'm not aware of any other Gibson cards using Oz images in this way - many of their cards were single designs, and this doesn't seem to be part of a series.

The company was a latecomer to the postcard craze of the early 20th century, and certainly did not commit themselves to the concept. Gibson cards were not produced in great quantity, and were not marketed nationwide, so they are among the scarcer and more desirable Halloween postcards.


Nathan said...

I notice they took out the Gargoyle, despite the fact that it looks very Halloween-appropriate.

Bill Campbell said...

I guess they felt the black cat was more appropriate!