of publications and books of interest to research-minded postcard collectors

They are still around, enthusiastic collectors holding specialised collections and those who have come across a particular type of cards and wondering what it was all about. Some dig deep, spending years on research and publishing the results in book form. Unfortunately often not available from your local / internet book store but directly from publisher only. Issued in small number only.

Below are several reviews of work still available as well as brand new. The reviews are not all written all by myself, but none are so-called “do me a favour reviews”. I have seen all publications myself. So, why not order a copy for yourself, learn and support these engaged collectors?

If you know of any other postcard research related publications worth mentioned please drop me a line.     Thank you!


Zur Geschichte der Propaganda-Postkarte

by Otto May

Volume 1 (2012) in a series published by Franz Becker publishing company under the heading “Geschichte im Postkartenbild”€¯. Otto May, who has written already a couple of books and monographs during  the past years, takes a close look at the history of propaganda cards.  From the early British cards, the role of the picture postcards as mass  media around the turn of the century, to the various designs published  during World War One. Not only from Germany but from most countries involved  in the war. Followed by more samples from the years up to the outbreak of World War Two.

You might expect lengthy explanations, but after an introduction article  the book suddenly turns into a “picture book”€¯. With two, more often  three cards illustrated per page, including some not often seen  material. The publisher should have better decided to use a bigger size  format. 204 pages, size 148 x 210 mm, some 467 illustrations in full  colour.   ISBN 978-3-88120-925-0    Euro 19,80

Kaiser Wilhelm II. in der Postkarten- Karikatur  - “Herrliche Zeiten€”?

by Otto May

Volume 2 (2013) in above mentioned series. This time Otto May deals in detail  with the various caricature type cards on Kaiser Wilhelm II. before and  during World War One until he went into exile. Besides interesting  historical information the book of Otto May boosts again with a wealth  of cards illustrated. Quite some I have never seen before. As said  above, a bigger page size would have been better. At least the publisher decided to use a more suitable (for illustration) paper quality as for  Vol. 1. 194 pages, size 148 x 210 mm and a total of 469 illustrations in colour. For collectors of caricature cards (on Emperor Wilhelm II) this book is a must. However, the books are available in German only. ISBN 978-3-88120-926-7   Euro 19,80

Europa 1898 - 1914 in der Postkarten- Karikatur  - Vorkrieg?

by Otto May

Volume 3 (2013) of the series. The author takes a look at the political situation of European countries at the turn of the century and following years: postcard wise. Conflicts, political and national alliances, incidences, e.g. the Dreyfus case, Chamberlain and the Boer War, Boxer Rebellion to name just a few chapters. Again Otto May has kept the individual historical data as short as possible and lets the many interesting postcards speak for itself. More or less it is a postcard picture book and some explanatory text. Suitable also for interested persons with little or no command of German language. 210 pages, size 148 x 210 mm and about 490 postcards illustrated, all in colour. For collectors of caricature / political cards of pre-1914 period a most valuable source.  ISBN 978-3-88120-927-4   Euro 19,80

Weltkrieg der Postkarten 1914-18

by Otto May

Volume 4 (2013) is the logical follow-up in the series. The Great War of Postcards covers the various propaganda and patriotic cards published by the countries involved in the war. In addition various cards showing the horror of war, technical innovations, the situation at the home front and so on. Although World War One is actually very present, soem of the postcard included in this book seen before, there is still much to discover / new to the interested collector. 260 pages, size 148 x 210 mm with more than 500 postcards illustrated in good quality.   ISBN 978-3-88120-928-1   Euro 19,80

Web site of the publisher: Web site of the author:


PS: Although I appreciate the concept of the above book series, with focus on postcards illustrated together with short explanatory notes, there is one matter really disappointing. Literature sources are mentioned, but absolutely no information on the postcards illustrated (publisher / printer / series). I have noticed this collector (research) unfriendly trend with other book issues of the recent years, too. Is it too much work? Lack of space?

Chinese indentured labour on the Witwatersrand Gold Fields illustrated by picture postcards published between 1904 and 1910; including an analysis of postcards and covers by Jeff Woolgar

Reviewed by Alan Drysdall RDP, RDPSA, FRPS.

This is a meticulously researched account making extensive use of primary sources of information which is evident from the extensive bibliography of a fascinating short period in the history of the colonisation of southern Africa. In order to overcome a labour shortage, Chinese indentured labour on three year contracts was employed on the gold mines of the Rand from 1904 to 1910. The total number of Chinese recruited exceeded 63,000, but the scheme had limited success as recruitment proved difficult and expensive, the living conditions were basic, not all the men were prepared to work underground and there were inevitable further problems arising from endemic gambling habits, opium addiction and the almost complete absence of women. There were also objections at a political level, particularly by the Liberal Party in the UK, with much talk of slave labour, hence the comparatively short life of the scheme, which was eventually terminated by the Transvaal Government. The author lists systematically, according to the publisher, just over a hundred cards, more than half of which are illustrated in colour, showing various scenes involving the Chinese including individual portraits, the ships used to transport the men, groups working on the mines, living conditions and aspects of Chinese culture. Although arrangements were made for a mail service only 11 covers sent from China to the Rand have been recorded and are briefly described. No covers sent to China are known. For those interested in the social philately of southern Africa, this book is a “must have”.


Published 2010 by the author, no ISBN, A4 format, stapled. Available from the author, c/o 9 Meadow Road, DA11 7LR - price £12.50 inclusive of postage in UK / £15 surface post elsewhere.

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