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POSTCARD PUBLISHER HISTORIES

The TPC, like other Canadian postcard clubs, promotes the study of Canada’s postcard publishers and photographers, including the cataloguing of their work. Information about some of the country’s well-known publishers is found below. The company pages below are at various stages of development, and thus far represent just a small (and admittedly arbitrary) selection of large and medium-sized Canadian producers. We hope to add information on many more publishers in the future, so that this will eventually become the comprehensive online source of basic information that collectors have long wished for. We would also like to include major real photo postcard photographers in these listings.

We would like to emphasize that we view this as a collaborative, ongoing and probably endless effort. Some of the information included is only provisional — many discoveries and refinements are yet to come. Our approach is to start with what we have and work upward from there, using the resources of our members as well as of the many visitors to our site (we invite all of our readers to alert us to errors or new information). Having issued that disclaimer, we can also say that the histories shared on this page are full of valuable information that has been painstakingly researched by a number of our members.

Currently, we have histories of twelve companies, including Calgary’s H. Enida Olive Co., Winnipeg’s Consolidated Stationery (C.S. Co.), Montreal’s J. C. Wilson, Ottawa’s Photogelatine Engraving Co. (PECO), the Canadian operations of Detroit Photo Co./Detroit Publishing Co., and a number of Toronto’s leading producers (W. G. MacFarlane, A. L. Merrill, Phillips & Wrinch, Pugh Manufacturing, Rumsey & Co., Valentine & Sons and Warwick Bros. & Rutter). Anyone with information that is relevant to the history of these companies or other major publishers should feel free to contact us. Note that there is a space for your comments at the end of each publisher biography.

4 Comments

  1. The Canadian Post Card Co. was founded in early 1910 by Donald Alexander Lynn of Toronto. Donald A. Lynn was the manager of the Underwood & Underwood office in Toronto from 1897 to 1910. The Toronto office of U&U was a major one and every one of the millions of U&U stereo views have the name Toronto on them. Lynn knew that the U&U company was founded by the two Underwood Brothers out of their home in Ottawa, Kansas. The two brothers started selling stereo views door to door. U&U became the largest photographic company in the world.

    Ottawa, Kansas was also the home of well known photographer W. H. “Dad” Martin, who was the best creator, ever, of exaggerated images for RPPC cards. Martin was a good friend of the two Underwood brothers and around 1900 took photos for U&U. Lynn of course knew about the exaggerated postcards published by Martin. Martin postcards had been widely distributed by U&U employees. Lynn left the U&U company in early 1910 and created the CPPC for the sole purpose of distributing the Martin exaggeration RPPC’s in Canada. Lynn, of course, knew about the Martin postcards. Ottawa, Kansas was also a name on everyone of the millions of U&U stereo views.

    From 1910 to 1912 the CPPC company distributed forty-four of the Martin exaggeration postcards in Canada. Martin made around sixty exaggerated images for his postcards. The earliest CPPC postcards featuring Martin images are postmarked April/May 1910. There are many CPPC postcards postmarked in 1910. The CPPC postcards distributed in Canada were made in Ottawa, Kansas at the Martin Post Card Co. and had the “Martin” type handwriting on them, the CPPC name on them but, very interestingly, did not have anything on them about W. H. “Dad” Martin or his Martin Post Card Company founded in September of 1908.

    When Martin stopped making postcards in 1912, the CPPC, of course, could not distribute any more of them in Canada. The CPPC then started making some of their own exaggerations about fish. They made fifteen such exaggerations in 1913. In 1923 the CPPC started making ten new exaggerated fish RPPC’s every two years. They did this for many years. In the later years of the CPPC they reproduced and distributed RPPC’s showing the Martin images again and also all of the exaggerated fish images they had created. The CPPC could never make any exaggeration photographic images which were as good as the ones made by W.H. “Dad” Martin in Ottawa, Kansas. (Additional information about the CPPC will be posted here soon.)

    I will be glad to correspond about the history of CPPC and the Martin Post Card Co., etc. Contact Morgan Williams, P. O. Box 2607, Washington, D.C. 20013 or morganw9185@gmail.com. Co-author of the book, “Larger Than Life, The American Tall-Tale Postcard, 1905-1915,1980. Major contributor to the “Illustrated Checklist of Real Photo Post Cards by William H. “Dad” Martin, Ottawa Kansas 1908 to 1912,” 2005. by Dennis McBurney, sponsored by the Wichita Postcard Club, Wichita, Kansas.

  2. I can’t find any secondary sources that give information about the Canadian Post Card Co. Primary sources suggest the company was active from at least 1911 through 1969.

    I looked through City of Toronto directories from 1910 through 1969 (available online through the Toronto Public Library, https://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/history-genealogy/lh-digital-city-directories.jsp). There was no listing in 1910.

    From 1911-1917, the Canadian Post Card Co (D A Lynn) is listed at 568 Dundas. In 1918 it is listed at 1570 Dundas W. In 1920 D A Lynn is listed as Donald A Lynn and the rest of the listing remains unchanged (except for the phone number) through 1946.

    In 1947 and 1948 the listing is “Canadian Post Card Co Ltd, Donald A Lynn pres, Elsie P Campbell sec-treas, post cards,” still at 1570 Dundas W.

    Both the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star report the death of Donald Alexander Lynn on March 14, 1948, noting that he was born in Barrie and founded the Canadian Post Card Co. “37 years ago.”

    In 1949, the directory listing is “Canadian Post Card Co Ltd, John E Bramham Pres, David Collver vice-pres, Elsie P Campbell sec-treas,” same address.

    In 1950, the listing is “Canadian Post Card Co Ltd, David Collver pres, Beatrice Vaughan sec-treas,” still the same address. The final listing available online is 1969 and is the same except Beatrice Vaughan has become Beatrice Collver in the interim.

    The Toronto Star (but not the Globe) reports the death of David Collver on October 4, 1976.

    That’s all I’ve been able to find.

    • Thanks Andrew. Great research. Will try to incorporate into our section on Canadian Postcard Publishers when time permits

  3. Do you know the dates or history of “THE CANADIAN POST CARD CO. Ltd Toronto 3” ?

    The Ontario Archives web site show it as c. 1910 to c 1950 – but it may be still operating under a different name.

    My family(Miners’ Bay Lodge) purchased many cards from them over the years and one that shows the above listing was definitely ordered in 1967.

    Thanks

    Russ Wunker

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