Happy Hallowe’en from Special Collections and Archives

As spookiness begins to fill the cool Vermont air, ghoulish items lurking in the depths of Special Collections & Archives are coming out to join in the Halloween fun. Be sure to check back all week as we feature ghastly glimpses of the past in a series of posts leading up to the most frightening night of the year.

The first in our series features a mechanical postcard illustrated by Ellen H. Clapsaddle (1865?-1934), an American artist born in New York state. During the golden age of postcards in the early 20th century, holiday-themed greetings were all the rage and Clapsaddle became one of the genre’s most prolific artists. Close to 2,000 postcards have been attributed to Clapsaddle.

This postcard boasts a movable, hinged arm that hopefully made up for the card’s belated arrival sometime after Halloween (scroll down to see the handwritten note on the back of the postcard).

The front of this postcard from the early 1900s presents an embossed illustration by iconic card artist Ellen H. Clapsaddle, complete with an articulated arm. From C-132 Historic Postcards & Ephemera.


The back of the card reads, “How is Aunt M L. S.? Did you have a Merry Halloween? From Your Nephew.”


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