Historical Images from
the early 1900's

Click on the links below to see a
collection of images from that region.


Gulf Coast


New Hampshire

New York

Rhode Island





See also Notes on the Images

A Collection of Restored Images
from a Wonderful Era

The era of the postcard and view photography (as opposed to portraits) began in the very late 1800's. Postcards were first used in Europe and became a tremendous success. Travelers now had a way to send home beautiful colored images of their many destinations. It took a while for postcards to become popular, but once they did, the quantities produced were stunning by any measure. One company printed over 75 million cards in a year -- and there were several companies producing cards during the first decade of the 20th century. The sheer number of high-quality photographs taken in a period of just a handful of years is staggering, but it documents the period in the early 1900's in the U.S. and Canada very well.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postcard for more history of the postcard.

For more information on the various publishers of postcards, visit the excellent website by the Metropolitan Post Card Club of New York City.

The 1900px.com website is devoted to recognizing the photographers and their work from this period, especially cards produced by the Rotograph Company and its predecessor National Art Views Co., both from New York City, and the Hugh C. Leighton Co. and its successors from Portland Maine.

We have produced checklists of cards produced by some of the companies, and also a number of slide shows with a collection of their work. Every attempt has been made to credit the publisher and/or photographer, but unfortunately there are many that are unknown.

Note that this website is a work in progress and material will be added from time to time. The images have been restored as much as is reasonably possible to bring out their original colors and to remove blemishes, scratches, etc. (The images were taken, of course, as black and white photographs, and later colored by the publisher who worked from written instructions from the photographer. Most of the coloring from this period (c. 1905 - 1912) was expertly done and makes for pleasing images. However it is important to note that the coloring is an artistic enhancement to the image and may not reflect the actual colors.)

Publishers of Postcards

Detroit Publishing Co. (including Detroit Photographic Co.)
was based in Detroit Michigan and produced cards from all over the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean, and Mexico.

Eastern Ilustrating & Publishing Co. Belfast, Maine, was founded in 1909 by R. Herman Cassens and published real photo cards in New England and New York, produced over 30,000 cards. The company captured a niche market by publishing views outside of just one local area, and by providing photo cards to retailers in small communities who could not afford the price of printed cards. Sold to Alton H. Crone in 1947 who stopped producing real photo cards in the 1950's and switched to photochromes. First logo was very large and appeared on cards from 1913-1915, smaller versions were used until the late 1930's when they just printed their name. By the 1940's they began using Kodak paper with no company name. Fred Cassens (perhaps related to R. Herman Cassens) did work in the Adirondacks of New York for Eastern. The photographers were paid a small salary plus commission on postcard sales. Eastern Illustrating sold over a million cards a year at their peak.

Hugh C. Leighton Co.
was based in Portland, Maine. They focused on Maine and Florida, but covered much of the U.S. and Eastern Canada. The company merged with Valentine & Sons forming Leighton & Valentine although some cards continued to be published by Hugh C. Leighton Co. Images from Hugh C. Leighton Co. and Valentine & Sons appear on each others cards. And Hugh C. Leighton Co. did private label cards for other companies.

Leighton & Valentine Co. -- See Hugh C. Leighton Co.

National Art Views Co. was based in New York City and was one of the earliest producers of quality cards. They published nearly 3,000 titles starting in 1903. The company was aquired by The Rotograph Co. in early 1904 who continued to publish the images along with many, many more for nearly 10 years. (See below for more on The Rotograph Co.)

The Rotograph Co.

Raphael Tuck & Sons -- Article on TuckDB Postcards

Valentine & Sons. -- See Hugh C. Leighton Co.

2019.08.15  ©1900px.com