Ephemera

Levantine courting postcards

Postcards became widespread by the latter stages of the 19th century and continued gaining in popularity right through early to mid-20th century. They were the brief messaging system of their day, similar to the way e-mails / text messages are used today so huge numbers were sent around, often kept their recipients in bundles as the image added to their intrinsic value and so today there is still an impressive number floating around, acting as a source for imagery, personalities and human touches. One of these human touches would be what we can call ‘long distance relationships’, as people of those days had fewer means of travel, fewer opportunities perhaps of ‘networking’. The Levantine ports probably had the extra challenges for ‘eligible bachelors’ as there were often a limited poor of marriage suitable partners from their culture and religion around. One could speculate on how these postcard correspondents started; perhaps the ladies had visited as a touring party, perhaps they were sent to Europe by their families for education, or there were penfriend introductions facilitated perhaps by friends or family members?

Sent by P. Gout in 1904 to an aristocratic sounding lady in Brussels, Marg. van den Hose de Heusch, this love poem is clearly by somebody who is infactuated. P. Gout maybe Peter Gout (1885-1951) who married (date unknown) Zoe Braggiotti.

A series of postcards all sent in early 1902 by Henri Marcus, of the tobacco monopoly (probably a manager) in Smyrna to a Miss Eugene Paren of Western France. Mr Marcus is clearly keen to impart his knowledge and scenes of Smyrna on this lady and it seems Miss Paren had briefly visited Smyrna, though it isn't clear how the initial introduction happened. Nothing is known of Henri Marcus apart from what is evident here and he may have had a brother (M. Marcus) who operated a business (shop?) in the city as seen from a lettercover: