In Variations we feature two or more cards that were based on the same photograph but contain certain differences. In this post, we take a closer look at two undivided back cards depicting St. Anne Catholic Church:
The major variation is pretty obvious: the telephone poles and wires have been mostly removed from the card on the right. We say 'mostly' because, if you look closely, you can see that portions of the wires remain in certain parts of the image, and at least one entire pole is left standing.
In total, we can see three main variations:
The publisher's info tells us the card with the poles was made for Monaghan's Book Store, and the updated card for Fair Savings Bank, which was Escanaba's largest department store at the time. Both cards were published by E. C. Kropp out of Milwaukee, and share an identical reverse:
It's worth noting that these two cards were postmarked almost one month apart, in March and April of 1909, but the updated card bears the earlier postmark. This seems to indicate that both were available for sale at the same time. It's likely that Kropp initially provided the untouched card to stores and later offered a retouched version. It also seems likely that Fair Savings Bank would turn over their stock quicker than Monaghan's Book Store, which might explain how both versions of the cards were sold and mailed around the same time.
While we think both cards look pretty good, the airbrushing seems to have had an overall softening effect on the image resulting in a loss of detail throughout. There's no question, however, that the removal of the telephone poles and wires allows the viewer to focus on the church. Which version of the card do you like better? Let us know in the comments below.
Check out our St. Anne Catholic Church exhibit for a closer look at these and other cards.