May 1, 2022

Owen Carrollson

Ten Postcard Sets of Pretty Girls

a checklist

Pretty Girls is a postcard dealer’s category around the world. In France it is Jolies Filles, in Spain it is Chicas Guapas; and in Germany it is Hübsche Mädchen, but no matter where you are there are thousands of faces on postcards that smile from ages long gone and say to the modern collector, “… you will never know my name, but beauty is power and a smile is my sword.”

Marilyn Monroe once said, “To all the girls that think you are fat because you’re not a size zero, you are the beautiful one, its society that is ugly.” This author is unsure if Miss Monroe was someone to consult for advice but her idea of society was spot-on! Society is ugly, it is often crooked, shady, and dishonest, but at the same time it is trusting, innocent, and naïve.

These characteristics of society are often portrayed on postcards. Publishers, especially in Europe, were inclined to make sets that featured emotions transmitted by the image of individuals of near-perfect countenance. The most popular sets were those drawn by the same artist, using the same or similar models in a welcome pose.

There are so many ways that postcards can change the mood of the minute, the bleakness of the hour, or the character of a day. Pretty Girls on postcards work very well at the task.

To demonstrate the international appeal of postcards showing beautiful women, here you will find examples from ten sets (a set is six or more cards) from across Europe and around the world. The available data on each card is provided.

Samples from Sets Featuring Pretty Girls

ARTIST: Unknown
NATION of ORIGIN: U S America PUBLISHER: Schlesinger Bros., New York
TITLE: American Girls (One of six)
DATE:  1914
ARTIST: F. Spotti
NATION of ORIGIN: Italy
PUBLISHER: unknown, Milan
TITLE: Lyda Borelli (Theatre and cinema actress)
DATE:  circa 1922
ARTIST: FBr (?)
NATION of ORIGIN: Germany
PUBLISHER: Emil Sauerwein, Bavaria
TITLE: Series #501 (one of six)
DATE: 
ARTIST: E. Bigliardi, signed EB
NATION of ORIGIN: Italy
PUBLISHER: unknown, Milan
TITLE:
DATE:  circa 1927
ARTIST: G. Guerzoni
NATION of ORIGIN: Italy
PUBLISHER: A. Scrocchi, Milan
TITLE:
DATE: c. 1925
ARTIST: C. Monestier
NATION of ORIGIN: Italy
PUBLISHER: ARSAOUH
TITLE: Hats (Series Title; one of six)
DATE:  unknown
ARTIST: William Henry Barribal (1874-1952)
NATION of ORIGIN: England
PUBLISHER: James Henderson & Sons, London
TITLE: A Ray of Sunshine
DATE: c. 1925
ARTIST: Jan Dédina (1870-1955)
NATION of ORIGIN: Poland
PUBLISHER: Nakl. F. Topič, Prague
TITLE: August (No. 8 of 12 – Calendar set)
DATE: c. 1932
ARTIST: V. S. Vassiliou
NATION of ORIGIN: Egypt
PUBLISHER: Tuck, London
TITLE:
DATE: circa 1920 – 1930
ARTIST: T. W. H.
NATION of ORIGIN:
PUBLISHER: C. W. Faulkner, London
TITLE: Rosamund (Series 350B)
DATE: 

*   *   *

The postcards in this checklist are only a small part of a collection of a person who is as devoted to her collection as I am to mine – my wife, Alyce! When we go to a postcard show – not very often these days because of the Covid – we arrive in the same car, but we take much different directions after we pay our admissions. I collect – as you may remember from my earlier article, Alpine or Swiss topics. Alyce collects Girls wearing big hats and Pretty Ladies.

When we talk about postcards, my wife frequently repeats what she says is an old Hindu expression about young girls, “A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.”

I usually counter with something clever, like the old Swiss adage, “Yeah, but snowballs never roll uphill.”

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Thank you for a most enjoyable post which has given me a great theme (‘Beautiful Women on Postcards’) for a future competition on my group page.

Last edited 4 months ago by Bob Teevan

Nice pretty girls on these post cards. I have quite a few by Munch.

Of the cards depicted, the Bigliardi is my favorite.

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