A flight of fancy with Santa himself

What could be more festive than Santa Claus himself, along with his team of reindeer, on the wings of an early Wright Flyer airplane, laden with bags of presents flying over downtown Kansas City? Signs for noted Kansas City retailers such as Duff and Repp, Jones and J.E.Vincent’s Hair & Millinery can easily be seen as Santa sorts packages on the upper wing, his team of four reindeer at the ready.

The box in the lower left portion of the picture notes the 1909 copyright and the publisher’s mark for North American Postcard company of Kansas City, Mo.

Picture postcards reached their zenith during the early to mid-20th century, mostly earlier than 1915. They remained a popular communication tool, however, through WWII and beyond, right up through the mid 1950’s when more modern technology made it easier to stay in touch.

Immediately following the turn of the 20th century, photography studios were common on the streets of downtown Kansas City. Moon Photo Postal Studio at 17 E. 12th St., The North American Postcard Company located at 1016 McGee and the Curio Post Card Studio at 112 E 8th St. were just three photography studios downtown that specialized in novelty and exaggeration type picture postcards.

The photo process was often very simple, with a decorated backdrop and props. They could be as involved as gluing a series of different negatives together in the dark room. In this case, a close up picture of the Wright Flyer was superimposed over the skyline scene of Kansas City. The picture of Santa, the bags of toys and the sleigh and reindeer was superimposed onto the wings of the airplane giving the illusion of flight.  

W. H. “Dad” Martin was considered the father of exaggeration postcards that featured huge vegetables or animals and miniscule human beings in the same picture. Martin was born in Illinois in 1865. City directories list him as a photographer with E. H. Corwin in 1886. Martin bought out Corwin in 1894 and in 1908, published his first exaggeration postcard, closing the cabinet photograph studio a year later in 1909 to focus on what had become a booming postcard business, printing upwards of 10,000 postcards per day out of the small studio on Main Street in Ottawa.

Some of Martin’s better work featured huge ears of corn, giant apples and peaches, stalks of wheat taller than any man, and massive pumpkins uprooting a farmstead. Such cards were hugely popular throughout the Great Plains states where agriculture was the life’s blood of rural America.

Martin sold the business in 1912 to two Ottawa residents, William Fallis and William Jones who moved it to Kansas City under the name of the North American Postcard Company, specializing in Real Photo picture postcards.

Want Northeast News articles sent straight to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
Enter your email address and click on the Get Instant Access button.
We respect your privacy

Comments are closed.

  • Remember This?

    May 18th, 2022
    by

    By Dorri Partain Floating along and holding the soap, Snoopy’s in the bathtub providing good, clean fun. Avon Products, Inc. […]


    Livestock Exchange Building stands as a testament to once proud Stockyard operation

    May 18th, 2022
    by

    By Micheal Bushnell About two years after the opening of the Hannibal Bridge over the Missouri River in 1869, the […]


    Remember This?

    May 11th, 2022
    by

    By Dorri Partain Only “three apples high,” these little blue men have grown in popularity since their first appearance in […]


    Great Flood displaces 22,000

    May 11th, 2022
    by

    By Michael Bushnell This black and white photo postcard, published by the Southwest News Company of Kansas City, shows Union […]


    Remember This?

    May 4th, 2022
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor Since its first issue in 1932, The Northeast News has been headquartered at several different addresses. Founding […]


    Old flower shop slated for newsroom as award-winning Northeast News transitions to non-profit business model

    May 4th, 2022
    by

    Michael BushnellPublisher Rose Marie Serrone opened her flower and gift shop in a single story Art Deco-style building in 1946 […]


    Remember This?

    April 27th, 2022
    by

    By Dorri Partain Watch it wiggle, see it jiggle! Jelled desserts have come a long way since the 15th century, […]


    Mount Washington Park still a gem

    April 27th, 2022
    by

    By Michael Bushnell This postcard, published by the Webb-Freyschlag Mercantile Company, shows a peaceful view of Swan Lake in Mount […]


  • Let’s go see Kansas City!

    April 20th, 2022
    by

    By Michael Bushnell “See Kansas City and know what you’re seeing,” states the description on the back of this Curt […]


    Remember This? Ecology Flag

    April 20th, 2022
    by

    By Dori Partain Creation of the Ecology Flag, the official flag for Earth Day, was truly a grassroots effort. The […]


    Nathan Scarritt, Melrose Methodist Church keys to early Northeast development

    April 13th, 2022
    by

    By Michael Bushnell A far cry from its humble beginnings in 1887 as a tent, this week’s real photo postcard […]


    Remember this? Plaza Bunnies

    April 13th, 2022
    by

    By Dorri Partain Whether the photo is black and white or taken in today’s digital format, generations of Kansas City […]


    Private mailing cards a true work of art

    April 6th, 2022
    by

    By Michael Bushnell As a public communication medium, postcards made their debut at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Ill., in […]


    Remember This?

    April 6th, 2022
    by

    By Dorri Partain By today’s soft drink consumption standards, would a family size bottle only contain 24 ounces? As produced […]


    Camp Prairie Schooner – Still a destination for girls in Scouting

    March 30th, 2022
    by

    By Michael Bushnell The description on the back of this real photo postcard describes Camp Prairie Schooner Girl Scout Camp […]


    Remember This?

    March 30th, 2022
    by

    By Dorri Partain The Old Maid rockets into space with this version of the popular card game aimed at the Baby […]


    Remember This?

    March 23rd, 2022
    by

    By Dorri Partain If you’re putting away your snow boots and getting your sneakers ready for spring, a pair of […]


    Colonnaded apartments a Kansas City icon

    March 23rd, 2022
    by

    By Michael Bushnell The Collinwood Apartments, located at 2501-2519 E. Linwood Blvd., were developed and built by William H. Collins […]


    Remember This?

    March 15th, 2022
    by

    By Dorri Partain Kansas City motorists had to keep change handy to cross two bridges that spanned the Missouri River […]


    The old and the new

    March 15th, 2022
    by

    This week’s historic postcard is a Chrome era Tetricolor postcard published by James Teterick of Kansas City, Mo. The written […]


  • Faces Of Northeast


  • Remember This?


  • Want articles sent directly to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
    We respect your privacy and will not distribute your information.