Embroidered postcards from First World War

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WW1 Christmas postcardDCLA Manuscript of the Month December 2017:Embroidered postcards from First World War

Soldiers fighting at the Front welcomed any opportunity to write to their loved ones.  Seeing an opening, many individuals issued postcards for sale, including embroidered ones.  These were made by French and Belgian women many of whom had lost husbands and brothers in the war and welcomed this chance to make a little money.  The designs were picked out on gauze and worked in coloured silks to create an image.  The finished gauze was mounted on a cardboard frame and the postcard was then ready for sale.

Image right: Postcard with forget-me-nots and horse shoe theme: "With Greetings for Christmas and the New Year: Good Luck and Happy Days". Monica Roberts Collection, Ref. RDFA1.09.006cardA. (See larger version)

Monica Roberts was a young woman who sent gifts to the Front and included a letter with them.  Many of the soldiers wrote back, some of them on the reverse of postcards.  There were lots of themes: Good Luck; Best Remembrance; Souvenir de Belgique; Remember; and Forget-me-Not. Some of the cards included a tiny embroidered purse, large enough to hold a lock of the beloved’s hair.  Monica also received embroidered cards for Christmas and the New Year with motifs such as A Merry Christmas, A Happy New Year, Christmas Greetings and A Happy Christmas.   These greetings are very poignant, given the conditions that the soldiers had to endure.

WW1 Postcard

Monica received A Happy Christmas card in December 1916 with a holly embracing two farmhouses.  The message on the reverse was: “Please accept this card as a token of gratitude from a Dublin Fus[ilier] in France who wishes you happiness during Christmas and the N[ew] Y[ear].  Signed: D.S.C.”

Best rembrance - WW1 postcard

Monica put her postcards carefully away and they remained out of the light.   This has preserved the colours of the embroidered silks so that they are as fresh today as they were one hundred years ago.   The Monica Roberts Collection is part of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association Archive held at Dublin City Library & Archive.


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