Cumberland County Museum & Archives

Postcards from the Past



There are many parts of the past that entice and stir excitement in our twenty-first century minds: the fantasy of an Edwardian ball, the excitement of a dual, the elegance of wearing a hoop skirt or top hat, or the delicate company of receiving a letter in the mail.

Letter and postcard writing was at a time the only means of communication available. It could take weeks for letters to cross the Atlantic or Pacific ocean, leaving a long waiting time to receive positive or negative news. During the Victorian Period, it was the women of the household who would write to relatives and friends. Often, before the letter could be sent, the man in the household would read over the letter to ensure that they felt it was appropriate. Sometimes, after the letter had been “inspected” an extra note would be added, featuring their true feelings on a subject or particular person.

While letter writing offered a detailed correspondence, postcards were used as a means of quick notes or the traditional travel phrase “Wish You Were Here.” Postcards were sent to bring wishes during holidays, birthdays, or anniversaries. CCMA has a large collection of postcards, from the years, as early as the 1900s. The words on these postcards will never be erased, as it might be with an e-card that jingles this appropriate music and graphics.

Here is a selection of postcards from the museum’s collection:


Postcards of different areas in Cumberland County offer a glimpse into the past and how the different streets and buildings would have looked.

Main Street, Parrsboro, NS, 1910


Public School, Parrsboro, NS, 1911



Episcopalian Church, Springhill, NS, 1910
Victoria Street, Amherst, NS


Back in the days when it was difficult to find someone who was not wearing a hat! 1911
Shipping Scene, Pugwash, NS
Waterfront, River Hebert, NS, 1910


Humorous and cute animals were also quite popular.

Peacock feathers applied for texture
Grandmamma, 1909
Three Little Kitties, 1911
A Bowlful of Whine, 1906, 1907


Tender moments between couples for Valentine’s Day was also popular:

Edwardian Style, 1912
The red hear is made of soft, silk material.
Raincoat Romance, 1908
The Love Thermometer Levels range from, Freezing, Cool, Temperate, Warm, Warmer, to BloodHeat
Engagement Postcard, 1905, 1910


Other holidays are also celebrated with postcards:

Halloween, 1909
The Halloween Spirit, 1911


Happy Turkey Day! Gobble-gobble! 1909


Easter Greeting
With Best Easter Wishes


Happy Xmas to You Santa’s old fashioned way of getting around, 1907
Santa in the forest, 1909
Santa and the Wishbone, 1906
Turkey Santa, 1908
With the Season’s Greetings Featuring a calendar for the new year, 1906
A Happy New Year! 1908


And my particular favourites, the humorous cards:

Crackin’ eggs, 1908
First date
Forget me not, 1909
Two is better than one, 1912
Master plan of 1908
“Intended to write today, but could not pick up the pen.” 1908
“Dis-graceful, I call it, showing off themselves in costumes like that! I wouldn’t do such a thing for anything.” 1909, 1911
“Come down from your high horse!” 1911

I hope these postcards inspire you to pick up a pen on your travels or take a moment to make some tea, find a quite place to think and write to that friend or loved one who is far away.