Fallen Angels?

By the Postcard UnClass

As we were finishing up working with scanning and entering metadata on our postcard binders, we took time to compare images that showed up under multiple subjects. There are, of course, lots of echoes among the binders, given that a large number of cards come from the early twentieth century and reflect the culture of the time. We’ve noticed, for example, that most buildings are depicted from the same angle, there’s plenty of engrained sexism and racism, and lots of the cartoons are inscrutible.

But some similarities are less predictable and bring up intriguing questions. Namely, we’ve been puzzling over angels, after considering this image from the Hold-to-Light binder:


Why is this angel wearing a coat, we wondered? Do angels feel cold? And why is she standing on the ground? Wouldn’t that make her a fallen angel?

So we looked for other images of winged people in other binders, and we ran across this one from the Lovers Portraits collection.


So the angel is evidently not alone. In fact, both cards reflect German origins — the first is printed in Germany, and the second has a German-language message on its back. But we still have no real ideas of how to explain her. Does anyone else?


The David P. Campbell Postcard Collection, searchable at postcard.uakron.edu, is a key collection of the CCHP’s Institute for Human Science and Culture. This blog series chronicles student efforts to make a select group of these postcards more accessible through an Unclass offered through the EXL Center and the English Department at the University of Akron.


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