Would You?

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Edith Romaine

Would You?

Nearly everyone who collects postcards has a few that are “artist signed.” Learning the details of those who create art for postcards is intricate and complicated research. It is literally like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack. Searching for artists is problematic, but it should never stop you from collecting cards that you like.

The signature you see above is C A R M I C H A E L, Carmichael! This is what we know.

                        * There are at least 156 different postcards signed by Carmichael.
                       * The cards were published circa 1910 or slightly earlier by no less than five publishers.
                        * The publishing pattern seems to be in series. Fourteen have been found.
                        * The artist seems to have preferred making sets of twelve cards.

A set of Carmichael postcards that over the years has been popular is Series 261 from the SB publishing company. The series title is, “Would You?”

Generally speaking, the set could be categorized as romantic comics. Nine of the cards feature boy/girl couples in diminutive-men and dominate women circumstances. Mothers-in-law appear on two cards in the set. In one view the boy is sitting on a firecracker waiting to be rescued and in another he is abed suffering from a hangover. The final card is the girl, dressed in a ridiculous bathing costume – complete with a floppy brimmed hat – asking for someone to teach her to swim.

Each card has a frivolous question appended to the “Would you?” and the illustration is a cute and flippant answer, filled with inuendo. One askes, Would you cuddle up a little closer? And, another, Would you go the limit? – No! not “that” limit, when you look closer the question concerns the speed-limit.

The illustrated checklist below will be of help if you choose to collect the “Would You?” set. Good luck!

[A Postcard History “Facts Added” Sidebar: Albert Peter Carmichael was an American cartoon artist who started his career at the New York World newspaper in New York City while still in his teens. Fortunately his coworkers were some of the best of the era, namely Gus Mager, Jack Callahan, and George McManus.

From a variety of sources, including a cartoon history website, a newspaper archive, and a close examination of a large collection of Carmichael signed cards we know that Albert was born in Albany, New York in December 1890. He started his artistic career circa 1907, married in 1916, and had one son, Albert, Jr., that he never met.

No apparent reason can be found for his move from New York to Los Angeles, but he died in California on February 3, 1917, from complications of an appendicitis operation.

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Very interesting article. According to one article I read, but can’t find at the moment, was that Albert Carmichael went to California on a business trip to discuss some early animation projects. There he had an appendicitis attack, a “successful surgery”, but got a deadly infection while he was still in the hospital. I’ve recently started collecting Carmichael postcards. One of my favorite Carmichael sets is the, “Anybody Here Seen Kelly?” set of twelve.

Kelly is a great set! A shame he died so young. But, in his limited years he created some great, collectible cards.

I recognized George McManus as the creator of the strip Bringing Up Father and its characters Maggie and Jiggs. I just learned that Jack Callahan was credited for drawing the grid for the first American crossword puzzle, which appears in a book I own and was clued by Arthur Wynne.

Nice little article. I prefer a concise read over a drawn out article full of supposition and speculation. Guess that’s why I like postcards.😏

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