14 October, 2008

Philippine Picture Postcards 1900-1920

Philippine Picture Postcards 1900-1920
Author: Jonathan Best
Publisher: Bookmark, Inc.
Copyright: 1994
Pages: 119

Jonathan Best is a book author and an arts and culture consultant. As I've said he is an avid collector of Philippine photographs and postcards and has published two books "Philippine Picture Postcards 1900-1920" and "A Philippine Album: American Era Photographs."

Philippine Picture Postcards 1900-1920 not only provides a simple history of early postcards but also gives the reader a fascinating portrait of the Philippines during the first two decades of this century. It offers us a visual memory of a time which still retained much of the charm of the 19th century. As well all know much of the Spanish-Asian cityscape of Manila was made rubble by World War II.

The period selected (1900-1920) is one when the Philippines became well known as "Pearl of the Orient." It was American tourism promotion and governmental propaganda that would really popularize the distinctive designation. The 180 postcards illustrated in the book are among the most beautiful and historically interesting Philippine cards from his collection of around 2000 postcards (lots of old Philippine cards are still in archives and private collections). It presents a selection of different types of cards and a wide range of images from Luzon to Mindanao.

Some of my reproduced colored postcards can also be seen in this book.

*The book won the 1994 National Book Awards Best Book Design.

13 October, 2008

Catalogue of Philippine Picture Postcards: American Period 1898-1941

(2) Catalogue of Philippine Picture Postcards: American Period 1898-1941
Author: Conrado F. Ciriaco
Copyright: 1995
Pages: 200

The author started as a stamp collector, later also became a coin collector and now an avid picture postcard collector. This book contains more than a thousand postcards from his collection, old Philippine picture postcards of the bygone era during the US Administration in the Philippines from 1898 to 1941.

Most of the old picture postcards shown depict historical events, local scenes, people, animals, different provinces and cities during the period, old US Army camps and forts, ships and boats, old buildings that do not even exist anymore, manners, customs and traditions, costumes, local transportation and practically all phases of life prevalent in the Philippines during the period of the US colonization of the islands.

What's so interesting is that the book outlines the history (best I have read so far) of Philippine postcards, from the pioneer era up to the photochrome era (1939-present). It includes the valuation of all picture postcards in the book and their grading value. It also provides an extensive list of printers/publishers of Philippine postcards during the American era and abbreviations/symbols that are commonly used for picture postcards.

Best part is that most of the Philippine picture postcards are illustrated in color in reduced format. Some of my reproduced colored postcards can be seen in this book.

I found a copy of this book on Philippine eBay but it's so expensive. Still contemplating on buying the book or not, or try my luck at antique shops/bookstores (it's already out of print).

Old Philippine postcards

202 Thriftshop

12 October, 2008

Consuming Passions: Philippine Collectibles

Every time I visit bookstores, I go to the hobbies section, hoping to see a book or two that mainly focuses on postcards, especially Philippine postcards. I got excited when I came across the book "Consuming Passions: Philippine Collectibles" not only because it has a section about Philippine postcards, but it also lists two books about Philippine postcards. I got more excited when I found out that the National Library carry those two books.

(1) Consuming Passions: Philippine Collectibles
By Jaime C. Laya, editor
Publisher: Anvil Publishing
Copyright: 2003
Pages: 404

This book is a collaboration of remarkable individuals drawn together by editor and former Chair of the National Commission on Culture and the Arts, Jaime Laya. The items in the books are categorized with Philippine postcards listed under "objects we gaze at." The essay by Jonathan Best, an avid collector of Philippine photographs and postcards and a publisher, on pages 130-137 provides valuable information that a novice collector must know about collecting postcards, particularly Philippine postcards.

It also discusses the history of Philippine postcards, from American era picture postcards to modern/post 1950s postcards. The best part is that it lists publishers and distributors of Philippine postcards, like the Lambert and Springer Company, the Squires and Bingham Company, Philippine Education Company (PECO), etc., and the places one can purchase old postcards. Unfortunately these companies, I believe, does not exist anymore.

With the help of this essay, I also learned that there are two other books published about Philippine postcards, both of which are included in this blog entry. Lastly the essay mentions the names of Michael G. Price and Abraham Q. Luspo, Jr., who both have large collection of Philippine postcards, and have written researched articles about Philippine postcards. Too bad I couldn't find Mr. Price's contact information online. (Mr. Luspo died last July 2, 2008.)

Additional Information:
Abraham Q. Luspo, Jr. -- Pathfinder in Philippine Philately

11 October, 2008

the postcard magic!!!

A lot of people might ask, "Why postcards?" Deltiologists can give you different answers. But in the end, for me, it'll all be the same, "Postcards provide a wealth of information." Postcard shows history, fashions, sporting events, horrific accidents, great exhibitions, or even wars. They show the development of rail, road, sea and air transport. For example, a 1930s Baguio or Cebu or New York postcards can be a snapshot of what the cities looked like then. One can observe the changes that have taken place over the years. A grand hotel before can be a shopping mall now. As the Postcard Traders Association says, "..a moment, a slice of history, frozen in time." And postcards really are.

I have these 1915 postmarked postcards with messages expressing love and a birthday greeting. This is the one other reason I love postcards. The picture, message and address are part of the life of two people - the sender and the recipient - in the past. You would wonder how the two people must have felt when they sent and received the postcard; there was still no SMS, email or telephone back then!

Postcards can be fascinating and educational - but they never fail to interest. The more postcards I collect the more I learn about our history; as my collection grows so does my knowledge.

UPDATE: Finally, after rummaging the shelves (and some unfriendly staff) at the National Library, I found the third postcard book! I have to edit my draft again.

09 October, 2008

busy.. busy... busy

It has been several weeks since I last blogged. I ran out of scanned postcards, although I still have tons of cards. I am so busy with work on weekdays. I travel to the National Library on Saturdays to find old books (I mean it) about pre-war Manila for my other blog. And I usually sleep on Sundays!

Another reason that I visit the National Library is that I am doing a research about the history of postcards in the Philippines. Most online sites discuss the history of postcards in general, not one local site has a history of postcards in the Philippines. I was able to find two books about Philippine picture postcards, although I learned that there were 3 published books (the library does not have a copy of the third one).

I have also asked permission to online postcard sites for content, so I believe I now have sufficient information for me to be able to start writing the history of postcards in the country and in general. As soon as I am able to finish the draft, I will post it here.