Do you want to see some vintage bears? Nope, not teddy bears. Regular, real life bears. Because of my ❤ for bears, my postcard pal, Fran B, sent me a nice set of seven vintage bear postcards she found at estate sales and antique shops, and I’ve been looking forward to sharing them.
The first five postcards feature bears from Yellowstone National Park. The postcards are undated, but three of the five were copyrighted by Haynes Picture Shops, Inc., St. Paul, MN and Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. Based on the one-cent postage required, they were printed either before World War I or immediately afterwards.
Take a look!
From the postcard back: Twin Cub Bears, Yellowstone Park. The black bear exists in the park in a number of color phases. The commonest type is black with a brown nose. Others are dark and medium brown, reddish brown and dull buffy brown. Even cub bears resent being teased and are usually treated with the respect they deserve.
From the postcard back: The Woman Bear, Yellowstone Park. “The most remarkable wild animal picture ever taken” (Ernest Thompson Seton), as photographed in the mountain wilds near the Grand Canyon by E. W. Hunter, master wild animal photographer of the Haynes organization.
From the postcard back: The Grizzly Bear, also known as the silver tip, is the most respected of all of the family of bears, not alone by men but by other bears. They are inoffensive if not molested, but when attacked they become extremely dangerous.
I’m not sure if the other two Yellowstone bears (below) were published by the Haynes Picture Shops or if the three bears above were part of the same series. There’s no company name on the back, but there is a symbol or logo and an arrow with letters–company initials, maybe???
Notice the letters in the arrow? HHT CO or is it T CO?
From the postcard back: A Yellowstone Park Bear. The bears of the Park are objects of peculiar interest. No sound of gun or bark of dog is ever heard, and the bears, though wild, have become so tame that they give only curious notice to the tourists as they pass. Some of the bears are wrapped in robes that would command a fancy price. They come down in the evening from their home in the hills to feed around the hotels.
From the postcard back: Bears in Yellowstone Park. With each succeeding year the wild animals in the Park become a more interesting feature of it. Here is really the only place where the public in general can freely see the animals of the forest and the wilds in their natural state. The bears are found near the hotesl and it requires no exertion, beyond the walk of a few rods, by tourists to see them.
The postcard below was printed circa 1950 and features a Polar Bear at the Forest Park Zoo in St. Louis, Missouri.
From the postcard back: Polar Bear Pit, Forest Park Zoo, St. Louis, Missouri. The entire zoo occupies 77 acres in Forest Park. At a cost of $250,000, these famous cageless bear pits were built. The bears are separated from nearby spectators only by a wide moat banked by a concrete shelving which the bears can’t climb.
This final postcard warns us to watch out for (bear) hitchhikers. They’re not as innocent as they appear.
From the postcard back: Black Bear Hitchhiker. Although sometimes thought of as a big lovable clown, don’t let this panhandling act fool you. Bears are dangerous animals and should be viewed from a distance.
So they’re not fluffy, cuddly bears we can take home with us, but we can still love them–from a safe distance.
Thanks to Fran, the cards are now part of my vintage postcard collection. When time permits, I will work to find out more information about the postcards, but for now, I’ll just enjoy them.
Note: Information from the postcard back was typed as it appears on the back of the postcards. I wouldn’t call a “female bear” a “woman bear.” 😉