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Authorized Images: Famous Authors Seen Through Antique and Vintage Postcards

Authorized Images is an eye-mesmerizing survey–the first of its kind anywhere—examining the phenomenon (which started in the 1890s and ending only in the 1930s) when the world went mad for picture postcards associated with novelists, poets, and playwrights–to a degree almost inconceivable to us now.

In the first decades of the 20th century especially the mania for sending literary postcards through the mail was equalled only by the mania for collecting postcards of literary figures. Savvy publishers of postcards augmented purchase of their product by often supplying free albums in which to display and store one’s diligent collecting. The craze resulted in the sale of millions of literary postcards throughout the western world in this period.

To modern eyes there seems to have been an insatiable hunger for these easily-affordable images of writerly figures, most of them celebrated–even venerated–for centuries.

Table of Contents:
    1. Authorized Images: Omnibus Edition
        1.1 Omnibus Edition Volume 1: Wish You Were Here
        1.2 Omnibus Edition Volume 2
        1.3 Omnibus Edition Volume 3
        1.4 Omnibus Edition Volume 4
        1.5 Omnibus Edition Volume 5

    2. Authorized Images: Spotlight Editions
        2.1   Dante Alighieri
        2.2   William Shakespeare
        2.3   Johann von Goethe
        2.4   Friedrich Schiller
        2.5   Charles Dickens
        2.6   Mark Twain
        2.7   Gabriele D’Annunzio
        2.8   Colette and Anatole France
        2.9   Daniel Defoe and Andrew Marvell
        2.10 Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott
        2.11 Miguel de Cervantes and Luis de Camões
        2.12 Leo Tolstoy and Mikhail Lermontov
        2.13 Rudyard Kipling and Hall Caine
        2.14 Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson and Franz Grillparzer
        2.15 Alexandre Dumas, père and Gustave Flaubert
        2.15 Jane Austen, George Eliot, Charlotte Bronte, Anne Bronte
        2.15 Molière, Corneille, Beaumarchais, Abelard


Authorized Images: Omnibus Edition

More details about each volume of the Omnibus Edition:

Omnibus Edition Volume 1: Wish You Were Here:
Introduction to (and History of) Literary Picture Postcards

Omnibus Edition Volume 1: Wish You Were Here:

Introduction to (and History of) Literary Picture Postcards

Volume One of Authorized Images is a comprehensive history of how the picture postcard came into existence. The Introduction then offers an overview of printed paper collectables which were the ancestors of postcards.

These precursors include, for instance, the carte-de-visite, greeting cards, trading cards, and printed envelopes. 

Then the focus becomes more refined, examining the emergence of the specifically literary postcard, a category which includes, of course, portraits of authors, but, in addition, images of their homes, schools, graves, statues, relatives, lovers, monuments, as well as depictions of characters from their books.

Authorized Images Omnibus edition Volume One Cover
Authorized Images Omnibus edition Volume One Cover
Hans Christian Andersen and Henrik Ibsen postcard, ca 1901.
Hans Christian Andersen and Henrik Ibsen postcard, ca 1901.
Hans Christian Andersen and Henrik Ibsen were part of a very small set of six trading-cards from the 1870s which inspired the development of postcards with similar artwork approximately two decades later.
Elizabeth Barrett trading card, a late 19th c. precursor of literary postcards which later featured the same portrait
Elizabeth Barrett trading card, a late 19th c. precursor of literary postcards which later featured the same portrait.
During the last years of Queen Victoria’s reign cigarette makers inserted small trading cards like the one above into their packs with the hope that smokers (or their children) might start to collect all the cards in a series. Tobacconists issued several different series of cards. One might depict royals, another military men, yet another animals—and almost every brand had a series devoted to authors. This example from the 1890s inspired several nearly-identical postcards ten years later when the postcard was born.
Famous Statues of Authors in Postcards
Famous Statues of Authors in Postcards
The first widely available picture postcards were printed by colour lithography. They usually featured 2, 4, or even more vignettes of sites important to the locals. Inevitably, a monument to a writer was included (as above, showing the Brothers Grimm). Indeed, statues of authors were often more numerous on these postcards than were monuments of royals or commanders. The white patch on this card was the only space where a message could be written. The back, until circa 1903, was reserved–by law–solely for the recipient’s address.
A postcard vendor, ca 1900, selling his wares to tourists at spots popular with visitors.
A postcard vendor, ca 1900, selling his wares to tourists at spots popular with visitors.

To enhance sales, postcard shops, especially at favourite tourist destinations, hired men and children to carry a small array of postcards—and be politely aggressive in trying to compel visitors to buy.

Postcard from WWI
Postcard from WWI
World War One put an end to most international tourism but, if anything, led to an increase in the number of postcards sold. Why? Because millions of soldiers sent, sometimes daily, millions of postcards home to loved ones. Almost every soldier was equally hungry to receive postcards at the same rate. Predictably, the pictures on the postcards no longer featured attractive cityscapes but instead were of a martial or patriotic character.
Postcards of the Classical Muse of Poetry were readily available, not least because the public (and particularly soldiers) were fond of buying images of what were, at the time, termed Pretty Ladies.
Postcards of the Classical Muse of Poetry were readily available, not least because the public (and particularly soldiers) were fond of buying images of what were, at the time, termed Pretty Ladies.

From the first years of the 20th c. publishers would grab at any excuse to show what was then termed a “pretty lady”. Above is one of a set of six such postcards, all portraying a Muse of the various arts.

A large sub-category of the literary postcard is that which depicts people, usually women, taking pleasure from reading a book. Thousands of such cards were produced around the world. The example above is not unusual in equating glamour with reading.

Prior to the invention in the 1920s of the conventional greeting card, as we know it today, people sent good wishes for a religious or secular holiday via appropriately-themed illustrated postcards. The example above hails from about 1904, its gravitas heightened by the inclusion of a quotation from Lord Alfred Tennyson, the Poet Laureate. Adding literary references was a common device of postcard publishers during the early years of the postcard phenomenon, the purpose being to make the card seem more elevated in tone.

The History of Postcards: An extensive history of the evolution of what we now term “antique postcards”.

This portion of the Introduction (that is, of Volume One) concentrates on the explosion of public interest in the late 19th century in postcards affiliated with literary authors. On a massive scale, postcards of this kind suddenly appeared everywhere in the developed world, a craze that continued until the 1930s.

 Volume One is 535 pages in length and includes 408 antique postcards and vintage illustrations.

Omnibus Edition Volume 2:

Volume 2 of Authorized Images is an examination of several renowned writers, including Dante, Shakespeare, Goethe, and Molière. In all, there are 11 authors discussed at length in this volume.

 A few of the postcards in Volume 2 are presented below. 


As no certain portrait of Dante has survived, artists were free to create their own image of the man. In 1894 the Italian painter Oreste da Molin (1856-1921) painted this highly Mannerist portrait of Dante. The current whereabouts of the original canvas are unknown. It was reproduced in postcards as early as 1910, the approximate date of the example above.

Postcard, ca 1905, reproducing an image by George Cattermole (1800-1868) of Shakespeare relaxing with friends in the backyard of the grand property he bought in Stratford with the wealth he had accumulated from his theatrical work in London. The original of this picture is one of a baker’s dozen watercolours made by Cattermole to illustrate key stages in the dramatist’s career. Cattermole was asked to create the pictures by a scholar about to deliver a major public lecture on the life of Shakespeare. The watercolours were donated in 1901 to Stratford’s Shakespeare Memorial Theatre.

One day, in the play Faust by Goethe, Mephistopheles, disguised as a dog, follows Faust while the drama’s hero is out for a walk in the countryside. The satanic canine pursues Faust into the man’s home and there — presto! — the hound transmogrifies into the demon Mephisto. The moment is captured by an unknown Victorian artist who has, unusually for the era, made his canvas a triptych. The image was probably made at the request of the postcard publisher. The card dates to about 1903.

Authorized Images Omnibus edition Volume 2 Cover
Authorized Images Omnibus edition Volume 2 Cover

Authors profiled in depth in Authorized Images Volume 2:

Dante Alighieri (1265-1321)
Geoffrey Chaucer (ca 1340-1400)
Ludovico Ariosto (1474-1533)
Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616)
William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
Molière (1622-1673)
Johann von Goethe (1749-1832)
Jane Austen (1775-1817)
James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851)
Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)
George Eliot (1819-1880)

Omnibus Edition Volume 3

Volume 3 of Authorized Images features extensively illustrated profiles of Robert Burns, Friedrich Schiller, and Lord Byron along with 13 others.

A sampling of postcards from Volume 3 follows:

Above is a postcard of the mutually smitten young lovers Robert Burns and Mary Campbell—smitten, that is, at least as far as Burns was concerned, for the months of April and May of 1776, after which his romantic attentions were directed further afield.

Postcard published in 1905 on the centennial of the death of Friedrich Schiller

Authors profiled in Authorized Images Volume 3:

Aeschylus (525–455 BC)
Pietro Aretino (1492-1556)
Luís de Camões (ca 1524-1580)
Jean de La Fontaine (1621-1695)
Daniel Defoe (ca 1660-1731)
Pierre Beaumarchais (1732-1799)
Robert Burns (1759-1796)
Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805)
George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824)
William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878)
Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850)
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1864)
Charles Dickens (1812-1870)
Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867)
Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910)
Hall Caine (1853-1931)

Authorized Images Omnibus edition Volume 3 Cover
Authorized Images Omnibus edition Volume 3 Cover

Omnibus Edition Volume 4

Volume 4 of Authorized Images contains substantial treatments via text and illustration of Homer, Hans Christian Andersen, and Charlotte Bronte in addition to a dozen others.

This is probably the oldest postcard ever published with a portrait of Andersen. It may date to as early as 1897. This postcard is one of a series, first published in Germany, honouring the “Great Men” of the 19th c.

Homer portrayed by Pier Francesco Mola (1612-1666) on an early Soviet-era Russian postcard.

It should not be too surprising that one of the great love stories of English literature has inspired movie makers over the decades. The postcard (above) promoting the 1943 version of Jane Eyre, starring Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine, has its defenders—but equally vocal are those who prefer any of the other 15 feature-length films based on the novel.
Authorized Images Omnibus edition Volume 4 Cover
Authorized Images Omnibus edition Volume 4 Cover

Authors in Authorized Images Volume 4:

Homer (fl. 8th c. BC)
Caedmon (fl. 657-684)
Pierre Abelard (1079-1142)
John Milton (1608-1674)
John Bunyan (1628-1688)
Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)
John Keats (1795-1821)
Alexandre Dumas, père (1804-1864)
Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864)
Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875)
Elizabeth Barrett-Browning (1806-1861)
and Robert Browning (1812-1889)
Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855)
Walt Whitman (1819-1892)
Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)
Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888)
Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson (1832-1910)
Mark Twain (1835-1910)
Sholom Aleichem (1853-1916)
Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)
Colette (1873-1954)
Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940)
Oren Arnold (1900-1980)

Omnibus Edition Volume 5

Volume 5 of Authorized Images incorporates heavily illustrated discussions of Sappho, Longfellow, Thoreau, Flaubert, and D’Annunzio in addition to 14 other eminent authors.

Sappho by French visual artist James Pradier (1790-1852). He was in such high demand as a sculptor, regardless of which regime was in power, that he and his workshop could barely keep pace with the commissions he received. Today he is regarded as one of the finest Neo-Classical artists who worked in France in the 19th c.  His final statue was this compelling image in marble of Sappho, completed mere weeks before his death. The postcard above dates to ca 1905.

Statue of Flaubert in Rouen by Léopold Bernhard Bernstamm (1859 –1939), a native of Germany but active primarily in France and Russia.

Based on the numbers which survive, this was a very popular postcard when it was issued in the 1920s in black and white. This colorized version appeared first in the 1960s. The setting is aboard a fast motorboat cruising on Lake Garda when Mussolini paid a visit to D’Annunzio’s lakeside home on May 25, 1925.

Authors in Authorized Images Volume 5:

Sappho (ca 630–ca 570 BC)
Giovanni Boccaccio (1313–1375)
Torquato Tasso (1544-1695)
Pierre Corneille (1606-1685)
Andrew Marvell (1621-1678)
Franz Grillparzer (1791-1872)
Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)
Mikhail Lermontov (1814-1841)
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
Anne Bronte (1820-1849)
Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880)
Matthew Arnold (1822-1888)
Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)
Anatole France (1844-1924)
J.M. Barrie (1860-1937)
Gabriele d’Annunzio (1863-1938)
Agatha Christie (1890-1976)
Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961)

Authorized Images Omnibus edition Volume 5 Cover
Authorized Images Omnibus edition Volume 5 Cover

Authorized Images: Spotlight Edition

Details about the volumes in the Spotlight series, each volume focussing on a single author—or a small group of like authors:

Authorized Images: Dante Alighieri

(141 pages, including 120 antique postcards).


Dante and Beatrice
In the first years of the 20th c. the Italians were fond of printing postcards with lavish pseudo-medieval embellishments, as with this example of famous artist-lovers.  The trio depicts Dante and Beatrice in company with the paramours of Raphael and Verdi.

Authorized Images: William Shakespeare

(281 pages, including 250 antique postcards).


Ophelia, by John William
Ophelia, by John William
Ophelia, by John William Waterhouse (1849–1917). Waterhouse was renowned in London in his day for his portrayals of young women. Most of his subjects were females from mythology or were characters from the works of authors ancient and moderns, writers such as Homer, Ovid, Keats, Tennyson—and Shakespeare. While not officially a member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, he was persuaded by their aesthetic arguments to quit the academic approach and adopt their style, as is evident in his 1910 depiction of Ophelia. He made two other portraits of Ophelia: one in 1888 and one in 1894. The postcard above dates to ca 1908.

Authorized Images: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

 (373 pages, including 315 antique postcards).


This image, with its attractive Art Nouveau features, owes more than a little to the Angelika Kauffmann portrait of the writer. The painting above was undoubtedly the work of an anonymous artist working under contract to the publisher.

Authorized Images: Friedrich Schiller

(193 pages, including 186 antique postcards). 


A scarce postcard combining lithographic printing with offset photographic presswork. This singular example was issued in 1905 to mark the centenary of Schiller’s passing.

Authorized Images: Charles Dickens

(152 pages, including 136 antique postcards),


Dickens’ last home portrayed on a ca 1899 UK postcard mailed in 1906.

Authorized Images: Mark Twain

(152 pages, including 149 antique postcards).


A ca 1909 postcard of the cabin in Florida, Missouri where Mark Twain was born, with a cameo of the author.

Authorized Images: Gabriele D’Annunzio

(196 pages, including 140 antique postcards).


A postcard issued around the end of World War One illuminating the fantasy of many Italians that their country would be awarded (by the Allied diplomats in Versailles re-drawing international borders) the entire eastern shore of the Adriatic that had been the only seacoast of the Austro-Hungarian Empire—thus transforming the Adriatic Sea into an Italian lake. To reinforce the delusion, the postcard above carries a quotation by Gabriele D’Annunzio, at the time the foremost exponent of Italians having a “natural” right to the disputed land of the Dalmatian coast.

Above is an extremely rare French postcard, undoubtedly issued as a promotional vehicle by Colette’s book publisher. Its undivided back means that it was published in 1903 or earlier when Colette was still married to Willy–but just starting to emerge from under his shadow. The actor Polaire had also just started to make her name in the world of theatre—primarily as the star of stage adaptations of Colette’s increasingly popular Claudine novels. Note how the publisher decided to hedge his bets by including a cameo of the bestselling author Willy in the company of his wife Colette.

Authorized Images: Daniel Defoe and Andrew Marvell

Daniel Defoe (18 page4s, 15 antique postcards); Andrew Marvell (6 pages, 5 antique postcards). $9.99


Engraving of Daniel Defoe by Michael van der Grucht after a painted portrait by J. Taverner on a postcard from about 1910.

Authorized Images: Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott

Robert Burns (77 pages, including 79 antique postcards); and Sir Walter Scott (137 pages, including 132 antique postcards), 


No other author inspires so much nationalist feeling among Scots as does Robbie Burns, a fact exploited by the publisher of this ca 1910 postcard who fitted a bright Scottish tartan behind a popular portrait of the poet.

Authorized Images: Miguel de Cervantes and Luis de Camões

Miguel de Cervantes (22 pages, including 14 antique postcards); and Luis de Camões (26 pages, including 26 antique postcards).


Unlike other major nations of Europe, Spain has a terrible record of honouring its most famous author. Few statues of Cervantes have ever been unveiled in the country, and its postcard publishers have been consistent in neglecting him for the most part. Indeed, the French have issued about as many postcards celebrating Cervantes and Don Quixote as have the author’s compatriots. This French postcard dates to ca 1904.

Authorized Images: Leo Tolstoy and Mikhail Lermontov

Leo Tolstoy: (125 pages, including 119 antique postcards); Mikhail Lermontov (78 pages, including 70 antique postcards). $19.99

Playwright Anton Chekhov (left) conversing with Leo Tolstoy as both convalesced in Yalta 1900-1901.

Authorized Images: Rudyard Kipling and Hall Caine

Rudyard Kipling (78 pages, including 81 antique postcards); Hall Caine (28 pages, including 23 antique postcards).


A 1930s postcard of Rudyard Kipling’s only home in the United States. Brash colours represent the decline in printing quality typical of the Depression-era years.

Authorized Images: Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson and Franz Grillparzer

Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson (32 pages, including 39 antique postcards); Franz Grillparzer (43 pages, inclduing 35 antique postcards)


Bjørnson with his wife Karoline, standing on a balcony of their country villa in Norway.

Authorized Images: Alexandre Dumas, père and Gustave Flaubert

Alexandre Dumas, père (66 pages, including 51 antique postcards); Gustave Flaubert (92 pages, including 83 antique postcards).


There have been several film adaptations of the Dumas novel but of these the most popular was the 1948 version with a star-laden cast led by Lana Turner. The American playwright Robert Ardrey wrote the screenplay. The movie was one of MGM’s highest-grossing releases of the decade. This marketing postcard dates to the year of the film’s premiere.

An elaborate postcard from ca 1906 of novelist Gustave Flabert, depicted with his best known fictional creation: Madame Bovary.

Authorized Images: James Fenimore Cooper, Edgar Allan Poe, William Cullen Bryant

James Fenimore Cooper (30 pages, including 22 antique postcards); Edgar Allan Poe (42 pages, including 32 antique postcards); William Cullen Bryant (28 pages, including 25 antique postcards).


“Large Letter Postcards” is the common name for a style which had its greatest popularity in North America and Europe within a relatively small window of time: 1938 to 1942. What makes this Large Letter Postcard of Edgar Allan Poe a highly unusual exemplar is that the image is focussed on a person. Pretty well every other Large Letter Postcard highlights a city, county, state, province, or region–never a person.

Authorized Images: Jean de La Fontaine, Honoré de Balzac, Charles Baudelaire

Jean de La Fontaine (53 pages, including 42 antique postcards); Honoré de Balzac (88 pages, including 77 antique postcards); Charles Baudelaire (43 pages, including 31 antique postcards).


Balzac on his death bed, a postcard first published around 1906.

The Fox and the Grapes

Authorized Images: Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, John Keats

Lord Byron (98 pages including 62 antique postcards); Percy Byshhe Shelley (55 pages, including 45 antique postcards); John Keats.


A view of the Chateau de Chillon (which Byron visited and by which he was inspired to write his famous poem “The Prisoner of Chillon”). This perspective shows how well the fortress was protected on three sides by the waters of Lake Geneva. The postcard above dates from about 1904.

An early 20th c. postcards, showing, at far right, the second-floor windows from which Keats could observe the unceasing activity on the Spanish Steps and the Piazza di Spagna in Rome.

Authorized Images: Homer, Sappho, Aeschylus

Homer (85 pages, including 57 antique postcards); Sappho (35 pages including 31 antique postcards); and Aeschylus (25 pages including 19 antique postcards).


A slightly over life-sized statue of Homer (with traditional lyre) now resides in the Louvre Museum in Paris. The marble sculpture, carved in 1812, was the work of Philippe-Laurent Roland (1746-1816). The postcard was issued by the French studio Nurdein ca 1908.

"The Time of Sappho", a 1904 oil on canvas by John William Godward
"The Time of Sappho", a 1904 oil on canvas by John William Godward

“The Time of Sappho”, a 1904 oil on canvas by John William Godward (1861-1922). Most of Goodward’s oeuvre is in the Neo-Classical style of the antique postcard above. The public and critics regarded him as almost embarrassing because he was so out of step with the dominant taste for Impressionist and other newer schools of art. It is claimed that when he took his own life, his suicide note read “the world is not big enough for [both] myself and a Picasso”.

Apart from specialists in Classical Antiquity, the little that most people know about the fallen god Prometheus is because of Aeschylus’ play “Prometheus Bound”. The most viewed personification of the tragic god is undoubtedly the gilded statue of him in Rockefeller Square in New York City created by American Paul Manship (1885-1966). The connection between the sculpture and the classical playwright is made overt by Manship’s insistence that a large quotation from the Greek drama be carved into the red granite which acts as a backdrop to the main figure.

Authorized Images: Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning, Matthew Arnold

 Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning (63 pages, including 42 antique postcards)’ Matthew Arnold (11 pages, including 9 antique postcards).


A UK postcard, circa 1908, of an 1859 sketch by an unknown artist of Barrett Browning. The drawing closely follows a photograph widely disseminated across the Empire and the United States during the Belle Epoque.

This postcard celebrating Robert Browning’s association with Ca’ Rezzonico in Venice was published ca 1904—that is, a mere 15 years after his death.

Authorized Images: Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Walt Whitman (36 pages, including 31 antique postcards); Emily Dickinson (8 pages, including 4 antique postcards); and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (267 pages, including 287 antique postcards).


As New York City expanded, what had once been open countryside on Long Island became denser with suburban properties. Fortunately, someone chose to renovate and refurbish the Whitman house in West Hills on the island rather than demolish it. The postcard above dates to ca 1915.

Authorized Images: J.M. Barrie, Thomas Hardy, Agatha Christie

J.M. Barrie (63 pages, including 70 antique postcards); and Thomas Hardy (52 pages, including 45 antique postcards); and Agatha Christie (38 pages, including 23 antique postcards).  


J.M. Barrie, ca 1902, from a postcard issued within a a year or so of the first appearance of the photograph.

The bronze statue of Peter Pan erected in Kensington Gardens, London, as seen shortly after 1912 when the likeness was unveiled. The artist’s fee and the cost of the casting were paid for completely by J.M. Barrie.

Hall Caine seen in business attire in a hand-tinted postcard from about 1902. However, when he was at home penning his novels, Hall Caine, like Mark Twain, often chose to write while seated upright in bed. And, like Twain, he was not shy about being photographed (and even filmed) at that task, sometimes while wrapped in a thick bathrobe.

The Torquay Town Hall, above, circa 1912, its interior modified during the Great War to be a hospital by the Red Cross. Agatha Christie began working here as a nurse’s aide. A year later she had qualified as a nurse. She also trained to be an assistant to a chemist (i.e., a pharmacist) which resulted in her being assigned to fulltime duties in the dispensary. Her job for two years, this is where she acquired most of her knowledge about poisons—those lethal elixirs that are the agents of death in so many of her novels. Any knowledge about dastardly potions she did not obtain during the First World War she gained in the Second when, again, she worked in a hospital dispensary.

Authorized Images: Ludovico Ariosto, Torquato Tasso, Giovanni Boccaccio, Pietro Aretino

Ludovico Ariosto (29 pages, including 25 antique postcards); Torquato Tasso (46 pages, including 42 antique postcards), Giovanni Boccaccio (38 pages, including 31 antique postcards); and Pietro Aretino (6 pages, including 3 antique postcards).


An Italian postcard (published circa 1905) of a painting by Gualtiero de Bacci-Venuti had many admirers. Bacci’s portrayal of Ariosto unwittingly reflects a common, nineteenth-century belief: that great authors must constantly be having Deep Thoughts while alone in their studios, looking up to the heavens for inspiration.

Early 20th c. postcard of a painting by Luigi Busi (1837-1884) of an aged and very ill Torquato Tasso holding for support the arm of a senior cleric as they walk in the cloister of the monastery of S. Onofrio where the poet died.

Authorized Images: Molière, Pierre Corneille, Pierre Beaumarchais, Pierre Abelard

Molière (100 pages, including 60 antique postcards); Pierre Corneille (93 pages, including 111 antique postcards); Pierre Beaumarchais (17 pages, including 13 antique postcards); Pierre Abelard (35 pages, including 28 antique postcards).


The largest and most impressive monument created in memory of Molière is the huge fountain erected in central Paris named after him. Above is a lithographed postcard showing the fountain and a cameo of the author, dating to 1897.

The tragic yet compelling account of the affair between Heloise and Abelard is one of the greatest true-life love stories in history. The couple were famous in France in the 11th century and have been so ever since. The current tomb, seen here in a 1902 postcard, was erected in 1800 and holds the remains of the devoted pair.

Authorized Images: Jane Austen, George Eliot, Charlotte Bronte, Anne Bronte

Jane Austen (23 pages, including 17 antique postcards); George Eliot (43 pages, including 38 antique postcards); Charlotte Bronte (45 pages, including 38 antique postcards); Anne Bronte (19 pages, including 12 antique postcards).


The dining area of The Pump Room, a popular meeting place for residents of Bath, England. What we would now call palm-court orchestras played light music as background for patrons having tea and snacks. The bands played in the balcony (upper right, delineated by a balustrade). Jane Austen set important scenes in her novels Northanger Abbey and Persuasion in this room

Above is a postcard from the first decade of the 20th c. Among the photos in this mosaic are cameos of Charlotte Bronte and her father, an Anglican minister. The montage also has images of the church where he presided, of the pastor’s house where the Bronte family dwelled, and of the moors which so influenced her writing.

Authorized Images: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Louisa May Alcott, Henry David Thoreau

Ralph Waldo Emerson (58 pages, including 63 antique postcards); Nathaniel Hawthorne (42 pages, including 40 antique postcards); Louisa May Alcott (35 pages, including 35 antique postcards); and Henry David Thoreau (36 pages, including 26 antique postcards).


A 1950s postcard illustrating the rather inelegant concrete stanchions and chain marking the ground where once stood Thoreau’s famous cabin at Walden Pond.

Authorized Images: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Oren Arnold, Sholem Aleichem, Ernest Hemingway

Scott Fitzgerald(48 pages, including 30 antique postcards); Oren Arnold(16 pages, including 13 antique postcards); Sholem Aleichem (16 pages, including 12 antique postcards); Ernest Hemingway (65 pages, including 53 antique postcards).


The Country Club in Montgomery, Alabama where F. Scott Fitzgerald first met Zelda Sayre who, with time, became his wife. This postcard is coincident with the year in which the two met at a dance hosted by the club so that soldiers at a nearby WWI army base (where Fitzgerald was enlisted) could mingle with southern belles.

Linen postcard from the 1930s of the Toronto Star building (tall white building centre), the newspaper where Hemingway met with editors who bought his freelance articles—and ultimately changed his life and 20th c. literature by hiring him with a good salary and generous expense account as a roving correspondent across Europe.

This 1960s postcard captures the only time Hemingway met Fidel Castro in person. The encounter took place in May 1960 in Cuba at a sport-fishing competition named after the famous American author by the island’s revolutionaries to honour Hemingway’s long association with the country which had become Hemingway’s second home.

Authorized Images: Caedmon, Geoffrey Chaucer, John Milton, John Bunyan

Caedmon (15 pages, including 14 antique postcards); Geoffrey Chaucer (18 pages, including 13 antique postcards); John Milton (66 pages, including 45 antique postcards); and John Bunyan (33 pages, including 38 antique postcards).


After the return of Charles II to the English throne, Milton, no longer able to work (because of his politics) for the government as he had before, moved to the London parish of Saint Bartholomew, the interior of the church little changed since John Milton made this his main place of worship. This postcard dates to ca 1910.

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