Every couple of months, the very talented Canadian genealogist, postcard collector and blogger, Evelyn Yvonne Theriault, edits a theme-based Web Magazine entitled "A Festival of Postcards". The theme for the March edition of "Festival" is "Light" and the following is my contribution.
LEAD, KINDLY LIGHT
During the great postcard boom of the first decade of the twentieth century, all tastes and interests were catered for. The avid postcard collector could fill his or her album with pictures of cuddly pets or colourful panoramas, sacred hymns or sexy hers. Amongst a certain clientele, a sober combination of uplifting words and stylized etchings were always popular and several postcard manufacturers published cards which featured the words of popular hymns of the time.
The words of the hymn "Lead, Kindly Light" were written by a young priest, John Henry Newman, in 1833. He later would tell the story that the words came to him as he was trying to return to England from Italy and the ship he was travelling in became becalmed in the Straits of Bonifacio. The words reflected the desire of the homesick traveller to be safety led home and, one assumes, to salvation. Newmans' hymn became one of the most popular of the Victorian age and therefore was a prime candidate for the religious postcards of the golden age.
Shortly after this postcard was published, the hymn - along with that other Victorian favourite "Nearer My God To Thee" - suffered from a bad press when it had the misfortune to be one of the last hymns sung by the passengers on the Titanic before it struck an iceberg and sank.
The above postcard was published by the Leicester firm, Henry Garner - Living Picture Post Card Co (HGL) and is No. 121 in the series. I am not sure, but at a guess I would say that it was printed in about 1905. It has not been postally used.
The Festival of Light edition of a Carnival of Postcards will be published in March. I will provide a link to it as soon as it is available, but in the meantime you can find out more about the project by visiting the Festival of Postcards blog.