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Vintage Postcards with a Triplet Theme

     I find it so interesting that the rather negative stereotype associated with higher order multiples is not a new concept.  If we could go back to prehistoric times, I'm sure we'd find a similar sentiment.  Perhaps even a cave-drawing such as this:

These are postcards I've collected lately, most being from the turn of the 20th Century.  Prior to the advent of reproductive medicine, I'm sure triplets were quite a novelty.  I'm not, however, sure why it seems to have been a fairly popular theme.   One thing is certain.  The sentiment is the same as it appears to be today - the whole good-golly-better-you-than-me feeling. 

One thing of interest is the lack of a triplet-related message from the senders.  Of the postcards that were postmarked, not one made reference to the card's theme in the message to the recipient (apart from poking fun at them on the front).  Why the senders chose these cards is a mystery.

I'm greatly amused by these postcards and am intrigued by the deep-conditioning (albeit brainwashing) sense of dread that triplets bring to our society.  I, as a mother of triplets, will continue to fiercely defend my blessings in triplicate, despite the longstanding stereotype.


Excited Father - "Did any of them get away?"

Not a postcard, this is a saloon card from the 1800s.  Pretty interesting.  On the back is somebody's ?grocery list? complete with bales of hay and wheat.

There's Never a Dull Moment Here!

Not postmarked but this is a Bill Crouch postcard and those were made in the 1940s.  I thought this one was pretty funny, actually, in a sort-of sick way.

"Life's Little Problems"
Shall I drown 'em, or give 'em to the cat?

Postmarked, but not clear what year.  This is the most patently offensive postcard I've seen. 

Valentine Greeting

"The much-married man should not talk,
At strenuous duties ne'er balk,
When at two in the morn,
He takes his first born
(Whether triplets or twins) for a walk!

A British postcard from 1905.  Not postmarked.  I really am still not sure what this one means.  This one has a "bottle for three" up in the right hand corner.

"Woe is Me, Triplets!"

This one has no date and no real indication of when it was made.  It wasn't postmarked.  It's coloring and style are 1970s or prior.

"Daddy-O, your group has arrived!

This one has no date, but it dates itself with the "Daddy-O" reference.  Has to be late 50s to early 60s.  Smoking in the waiting room.  I actually remember when that was okay.

Postcard Series with One!, Two!!, Three!!!
Common theme, but a three-postcard series is very collectible.

The inscription on the back of the first two says, "Congratulations" and on the third says, "Dear Ray - This may happen the next time.  Aunt Emma."  These is from the early 1900s.

"If we were to lose one, would it spoil the set?"

This one has no date and was not postmarked, but the style is indicative of the 1920s postcards.

"Yes, when 'is wife 'ad triplets the Mayor presented 'im with a silver cup.  Do 'e keep the cup or do 'e 'ave to win it three times running?"

Postmarked 1909.  I pondered over this one a while...hmmm.

"Which one do you want to keep?"

Postmarked 1907.  Wow.  This guy is going to drown two of his triplets!

"Mr. Jolly is overjoyed.  3 X 1 = 3"

Postmarked 1906.  This is an interesting leather postcard. 
What's with the 3 X 1 = 3?  Why not 1 + 1 + 1 = 3, or 2 + 1 = 3?

"Three little darlings howling night and day.  Oh, when will their mother come.  Quickly I pray!"

Not postmarked, but has the same style as one postmarked 1908.  This card had a spring/musical type mechanism in the back.  It probably had a "baby cry" sound to it, but it was broken.  The letters on the front are gilded metal.  Pretty elaborate for a postcard.  Dad looks like he's going to tip them over.

"Which one would you like to keep?"  And then handwritten below, "There doesn't any one of them look good to me.  How about you?"

Postmarked 1912.  A variation on a postcard above.   Dad's going to drown two.  I found the handwritten comment interesting. 

Three little darlings fed from the cow.  Heedless of father mopping his brow."

Not postmarked, but from 1908.  Dad needed an icepack to deal with his children.  I love the bottle.  Wish I'd had one of those!  Similar to the Podee baby bottles parents of multiples love.

"It is rather more than I expected."

Not postmarked.  Judging by the Victorian nursemaid, I'd say this was from the turn of the century.  Notice the look of horror on the father's face.

"Every little bit added to what you've got makes just a little bit more.  Its triplets, Mr. Moore."

Postmarked 1907.  The title makes reference to an Arthur Collins song.  Arthur Collins was known for songs that would now be considered extremely racially insensitive and offensive.  I contemplated not including this one, but it is a sign of those particular times, so I'm including it anyway.

"Mr. Jolly is overjoyed.  3 X 1 = 3"

Postmarked 1907.  A variation on the leather one shown above.  The really interesting thing about this one is the handwritten comment on the front..."(which one)" and "3 - 2 = 1" above the 3 X 1 = 3.  Such negativity surrounding triplets, huh?


Postmarked 1907.  On the front, handwritten are the words "Not mine. No!" and then the name "Jim."  Another one with the Podee-type bottle.  And we thought that was a modern convenience.

"Gosh, Mum.  Will you keep dad or have him doctored?"

Not postmarked.  I love this one.  Doctored is another word for neutered.  I've been asked a similar question by strangers who've wanted to know if "we're done" having kids.

"Rejoice.  Resign.  Despair."

Postmarked 1908.  This one's in French.  Reference is made to names and includes the comments, "The Desire," "Upcoming," "Desire Accomplished."  This seems to be, from what I can gather, the only postcard where, though the postcard's theme is negative in nature, the sender is offering an upbeat alternative.

"Yes - Muvver can go to the pictures now!"

What did they do to entertain babies before Baby Einstein?  Early headphones like these suggest this one to be 1920s.  Lucky mom to keep her babies occupied so she can see a movie.


Postmarked 1909.  The term "dreadnoughts" came from HMS Dreadnoughts (1906), the first battleship to use all "big-gun" artillery.  All other ships paled in comparison.  Anything that was considered above and beyond the norm was referred to as a dreadnought.  This term went into obscurity soon after. 

The handwritten scrawl across the bottom says "Aren't they cute?"

deer mister stork we hav xammined
your line ov sampels . will kiep
the girrl pleas send for the rest
yurstrooly Tommy

Early 1900's.  Big brother overwhelmed by his new siblings.
This is the only one that is not a postcard, but I thought it apropos for this page.

"You lucky guy, three income tax exemptions!"

This one was from the 1930's.  Notice the dozens of cigarette butts scattered about his feet.  And yes, I've heard that "tax deduction" comment a few times.

"What you want.  What you get.  What you might get."

Postdated 1917.  Notice that in the third shot, the dad's got two fair-skinned babies and one darker-skinned baby.


Postmarked 1910.  I find it interesting that mom has hearts around her head and that dad's holding up a joker card.

"Resignes. Rejouis. Desesperes"

Postmarked 1914. Rejoice, resign, despair.  This theme seemed to be popular.  That poor poor family with triplets and an older sibling (I say with sarcasm).

No Caption

Postmarked 1905.  This is typical.  Could have been modeled after our household at times.

"Looking down upon his Luck"

From the early 1900's.  I love the double entendre of this one.  Another one where one of the babies has the Podee-type straw bottle.  Interesting.


Update from 12/22/07 - Merry Christmas!

Update from 11/28/07 - First and Last

Update from 10/30/07 - Three is a Magic Number

Update from 10/1/07 - Simple Update

Update from 9/13/07 - Full Hands, Full Heart

Update from 8/18/07 - Lazy, Hazy, Crazy

Update from 7/11/07 - Happy 1,000 days!

Update from 6/14/07 -  Quick Update

Update from 5/26/07 -  Life's Crazy Lessons

Update from 4/30/07 - Are they triplets?

Update from 4/5/07 - Off into Spring

Update from 3/20/07 - Leaps and Bounds

Update from 3/6/07 - Amusements and Diversions

Update from 2/25/07 - Crazy Busy Week

Update from 2/11/07 - Easy

Update from 1/25/07 - One Square at a Time

Update from 1/11/07 - I have a feeling...

Update from 1/1/07 - Crossing Bridges

Update from 12/22/06 - Nearing the end of 2006

Update from 12/17/06 - Fire Drills

Update from 12/4/06 - Stop, Drop and Roll

Update from 11/29/06 - Thanksgiving 2006

Update from 11/17/06 - Angus's birthday, etc.

Update from 11/10/06 - Christmas Photo experience

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