Thursday, February 14, 2013

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 78

President Warren G. Harding, 1923

There are a few of these political or famous person postcards in the trunk.  This one above shows the United States President, Warren G. Harding, riding in a car draped with flags and bearing the US presidential seal on the door.  Harding made a tour of the western United States and Canada shortly before his death in 1923.  The tour covered Alaska, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and Seattle.  President Harding gave a speech at the University of Washington stadium where about 30,000 people attended.  Part of the visit included a stop at the Seattle Press Club and from the looks of the crowd gathered along the sidewalk must have also featured a parade or motorcade of some type.  He had intended to include a speech both in Portland, Oregon and San Francisco, California as part of this western tour but he ended up cancelling those appearances due to failing health.  He did make it all the way to San Francisco on the tour but died there on 23 August 1923. 

The photographer is not identified on this card but another picture from the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) that is very similar and taken on the same occasion is dated 27 July 1923 was by the well known local photographer, Frank H. Nowell, who also took the official pictures at the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition in 1909.  

President Harding is waving his hat to the crowd; sitting next to him is his wife, Florence.  Her hat and feathers are just barely visible in this photo the one at the history museum more clearly shows her.  The car has a driver and one other person in the front, possibly security detail, and two security men walking on either side of the car at the rear.  I have not been able to identify the two gentlemen sitting in the middle section of the car.  Usually, I think, there would be other local dignitaries riding in the car with the President.

It is an unused postcard so I am not sure if it was originally one of those from I.C. Lee or if it might be something collected by Dick Thompson.  Both were Seattle Policemen and could have probably been involved in the security or traffic detail for the President.   Most of the cards with political themes were I.C. Lee’s.  Since his brother, Hans Østerholt was a political journalist in Norway it seems likely that Lee would get one or two of these cards and send one to his brother keeping the other as a souvenir for himself.  

Please see these links for more about President Harding’s visit to Seattle in 1923:

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