Happy 1915 From Friends in Los Gatos

This pictorial postcard greeting was mailed from Los Gatos to San Francisco at the end of December, 1914.

Around 1900, the first photo postcards began to appear, usually printed on film stock paper.

In 1906, Eastman Kodak introduced an affordable folding pocket camera that made it possible for anyone to take black-and-white photographs and have them printed onto the back of a postcard.

This card, postmarked Dec. 29, 1914 is captioned "Sunrise Hill - December 26, 1914." It was mailed to Miss Blanch Partington, 236 Ashbury Street, San Francisco, inscribed "A Happy New Year to You" from "The Mickelsons."

John Mickelson was a farmer, born in Norway in 1856. He and his wife, Bertha, had 10 children and lived in Oregon and Idaho before settling in Los Gatos. 

In the 1920 Census, Mr. Mickelson was a widower living at 340 College Ave.

Source: Hooked on Los Gatos, the Library and Museum History Project

Gary Hinze January 05, 2013 at 08:22 PM
These were known, and are known by collectors and historians today, as Real Photo Postcards, RPPC. While most post cards were printed on some kind of press, these were actual photos, from photographic negatives, exposed and developed on heavy photographic paper, which was preprinted on the back with the post card format, as shown by the example above. The negatives were full postcard size and they were contact printed full size. Thus the print quality could be as good as the original negative, which could be excellent in the hands of a capable photographer. This enabled anyone with a camera to make postcards. Because they often had a very limited printing, particular images can be quite rare. Read more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real_photo_postcard
Alastair Dallas January 06, 2013 at 04:25 AM
I wonder if John Mickelson was any relation to the namesake of Mickelson's Furniture, on N. Santa Cruz Ave. at 100 after WW II, then 301 at the corner of Bachman ~1953-1969, or Mickelson's Plumbing and Heating at 114 in 1974? It could just be a coincidence.
Gary Hinze January 06, 2013 at 06:10 AM
Alastair, It might be possible, but difficult, to establish a connection through Census, County Assessor, business license and other records. That does not establish a connection to this postcard. All we have on the identity of the sender is "The Mickelsons", or Michelsons? Plural, no hint of gender. Could be a couple girlfriends of the addressee. Notice the San Francisco postmark. What postmark would mail have if mailed from Los Gatos at that time? Today mail goes through the San Jose distribution center. More likely, someone visiting Los Gatos from San Francisco took the picture, had the film developed and mailed the card in SF. Notice the "World's Panama Pacific Exposition" in the postmark. That makes this card a little more special. Where is Sunrise Hill in Los Gatos? Perhaps a larger collection of Real Photo Post Cards would reveal some clues. Other pictures, other signatures, other postmarks could reveal connections. Another interesting feature of this photo is the clouds in the sky. Early film was sensitive to blue, making blue sky look white and obscuring the clouds. The exposure seems to have been made for the sky. The foreground elements are very dark. Or was this an early panchromatic film? The ever present question about old photos; where is the negative? Where is the camera? I have a Kodak folder like the one that likely made this picture. It belonged to my maternal grandmother. That kind of roll film has been unavailable for decades.


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