April 7, 2021

Ray Hahn

Fred Buchanan
Humorist, Cartoonist,
and Tuck Postcard Artist

It is much easier to learn today! For the most part we can sit at a keyboard and type words into an Internet Browser and within seconds technology puts a world of knowledge before our eyes.

I spent more than three decades in libraries as a career librarian and media science assistant-professor. As a researcher and a genealogist, one fact stands above all else. The acquisition of knowledge is limited by not knowing what you don’t know. Yes, this remark sounds ridiculous, but such is the case with the British humorist and cartoonist, Fred Buchanan.

Until recently, I had never heard Buchanan’s name, never saw a piece of his work, never read his name anywhere. I simply did not know about Fred Buchanan. And, I suspect it may be the same for most of my fellow Americans.

Friend Charles Buchanan was generally well known in his hometown of Woolwich, England, an industrial town within the Royal district of Greenwich on the south bank of the Thames River. His unusual given name, Friend, prompted family, friends, and neighbors to call him Fred, a name he used in all matters except legal documents.

Fred was born in June 1879. That time in England saw little of any significance except that the summer season was the rainiest in the history of the British Weather Service. (Doesn’t this make the point? Who would have known, or cared, about the rain in an English summer if it weren’t for the Internet?)

As for Buchanan’s family, personal life, education, or artistic training little is currently available. But if my curiosity was such that I could ask enough questions, travel any distance, or spend enough money, we would know much more.

For Postcard History’s readers, the most pertinent fact concerning Fred Buchanan is his association with Raphael Tuck & Sons. In a course of what may have been as many as twenty-four years (1908-1932), Fred did at least 26 sets of postcards for Tuck.

One of his latest sets appeared in Tuck’s 1930 catalog, e.g., Set #3009 – Gardening Hints.

The following is a checklist of Buchanan’s known sets. The set information is gleaned from Internet sources and sample cards that are parts of the sets.

One very curious theme runs through the data; none (or very few) of Buchanan’s cards were sold outside of the United Kingdom. If there is a reader among you who can advise or inform us on this, please contact Postcard History’s editor at
editor@postcardhistory.net.

The following checklist is presented with selected images for your information. If you care to, Cut & Paste then Print for your personal use.  Two cards from Set #3009 are above.

Tuck Postcard Sets by Fred Buchanan

3009                       Gardening Hints
3010                       A Day in the Country
3012                       Unsolicited Testimonial
3014                       Economy Hints

3408                       All Scotch, Series I.
3409                       All Scotch, Series II. Golf Humour
3410                      All Scotch, Series III. Golf Notes
3411                       All Scotch, Series IV. Automobile Humour
3613                       Taking the Waters
3614                       Car for Sale

3615                       Stock Exchange Items
3616                       Gardening Hints
3617                       All Scotch
3618                       Wireless News
3620                       News Bulletin
3621                       Cricket Illustrated
3622                       Tennis Illustrated

3623                      Football Illustrated
3630                       Seaside Humour
3631                       Taking the Waters, Series II
3637                       Proverbs Illustrated
3638                       Bowls Illustrated

6083                       Popular Phrases
6993                       Write Away, Comic Sketches
9309                       Write Away, Comic Sketches
9325                       Prehistoric Studies

***

Buchanan died in 1941 at age 61 in Wandsworth, England.

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Love the artwork

I agree, Jim, the artwork is charming. However, I don’t get most of the jokes.

I had never heard of Buchanan until today. He strikes me as a better artist than a humorist.

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