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Rumsey & Co. Ltd.

One of the most enduring of the major Ontario-based postcard producers was Rumsey & Co. Ltd. of Toronto. In 1909, the leading figure in the company’s history, William Frederick Rumsey (1878-1936), took over the stationery business of his late father William Henry Rumsey (1845-1905). The younger Rumsey decided to focus the business on postcards. Unlike many other similar companies, Rumsey & Co. continued in the postcard business well beyond the First World War. The Toronto Public Library holds a 1951 Rumsey catalogue that includes postcards among many other novelty and stationery items. For much of its history, Rumsey & Co. was located at 1528 Queen Street West in Toronto, which had been the home of William Sr. and his wife Emma. The nondescript building still stands at the corner of Fuller Avenue and now houses a Tibetan restaurant.

This sample-card advertisement for Rumsey’s tinted collotypes describes the company as “The largest Canadian Publishers of Local Views”.

James H. Dunn Hospital, Bathurst, N.B., posted 1939. This exemplifies Rumsey’s continued production of traditional postcards after most of its competitors had left the business.

Important Figures in the Company

In 1926, when it was still listed in the city directory solely as a postcard wholesaler, the company was large enough to have a full executive team that included Alfred P. Maddox as Vice-President, Alfred E. Mundy as Secretary and Orson Irving as Treasurer, in addition to Rumsey as president and general manager.

The Rumsey Postcards

Rumsey & Co. produced many thousands of lithographed postcards representing towns and cities across Canada, as well as several series of patriotic postcards. Well over 250 western cards are catalogued in the Peel Prairie Provinces collection, while the Toronto Public Library holds about two dozen Ontario cards.

Unlike some of its competitors, the company’s postcards had few “signature” features to make them stand out in the collector’s mind from others of their kind. One exception is that Rumsey & Co. appears to have been much more active than Pugh, MacFarlane, Stedman, Warwick and others in the production of real photo postcards. Its RPPCs, which would have been made to order from submitted photos, usually feature a printed caption on a small white “label” centred in the lower margin of the image, as in the example below from Roblin, Manitoba. 

Main St., Medicine Hat, Alta. (50965)

Main St. Roblin, Man., posted 1912.


  1. Hello
    I’ve a question on the possible date of Card number 437739. Also, I suspect I am not the only one wondering about the whereabouts of the photo archive for these types of cards. Has anyone ever located the negatives archives?

    • Card Talk Editor

      I don’t know if anyone has tried to find the archives. Given that the company existed relatively recently (1950s), there could be a chance of finding them but on the whole it is very unusual for any records of postcard companies to survive.

    • Card Talk Editor

      Card number 437739 would have been produced in 1929 at the factory of C. G. Röder in Leipzig. See Mike Smith’s “The Rumsey & Co. Picture Postcard Handbook” (2024), available from Mike Smith Books.

  2. I have a Rumsey post card with a number 378803 it is titled Trout Fishing, Chipman, NB looking to date this post card. Any help appreciated

    • Hi, if you can send scans of the front and back (or iPhone pictures or whatever), we can have a look. The email is edit-r@t-r-nt-p-stcardclub.c-m with the dashes replaced with “o”. Postcards with general titles like “Trout Fishing” are sometimes just generic photos that didn’t really come from the place that they were sold in. So the first thing would be to watch out for that (unless it’s clearly in Chipman).

    • Hi Debra,

      Most of Rumsey & Co.’s postcards were printed by a firm in Leipzig, Germany, whose card numbering can be linked to a calendar year. Card no. 378803 would have been published in 1925.

  3. I have a question about Rumsey cards I hope someone can answer. The back of their cards in your history is the one I am familiar with. Their business name is printed on the left side of the card and their reference number is found in the bottom right-hand corner of the card back.

    I have found identical views in both colours as these views but without their name anywhere on the card and a completely different reference number in the stamp box.

    Were these Rumsey cards? Were they purchased by someone else who printed them in this new way?

  4. Ignore my previous post. I have found the answer. In one of their series, the one I call the “Private Postcard Series” there are cards with a “patriotic” stamp over. In the case of London, Ontario cards the stamp reads “We All Say London”.

  5. The post mentions “as well as several series of patriotic postcards”. Can you help with images or any information on any patriotic card by Rumsey? I note that none are listed in Mike Smith’s book.

  6. An illustrated catalogue of Rumsey & Co. cards with P.E.I. images can be found at

  7. Mr. Rumsey was the manager of W. F. Mcgregor of leather postcard fame in Toronto according to Might’s 1908 Toronto Directory. When Mcgregor went out of business in 1908 along with the failure of MacFarlane, Herr Rumsey appears on the scene as a publisher. It is notable that Bill Rumsey lived at 1528 Queen W in Toronto, the address of his postcard company.

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