One of the casualties of writing about Peter Pan is that even after the project is complete, one is prone to continue collecting related ephemera. From 1989 through 1993 I bought many photos and programmes to use as illustrations for my first book, The Peter Pan Chronicles, as it was often cheaper to buy an item at an ephemera show (this was before the internet and Ebay) than to rent the image and pay for the cost of having a photo taken and printed by the institution which owned it. In 1996, I was commissioned to write a second book, The Art of Peter Pan, which, concentrating on the book illustrations over the years, was to be published as part of a series by different writers. I received an advance of $2500 and about eight months later I had completed the manuscript which was to be published the following summer. However, I suggested to my editor that it might benefit the publishers if they waited for the Christmas publication period. Dumb, dumb, dumb! They agreed and meanwhile, their first book, The Art of Alice in Wonderland, was released. Although extremely well written, the text had little to do with the illustrations and the layout was far too busy.
It didn’t take a fortune-teller to foresee that the “Art of “series was not going to be a success. A few months later I was paid an additional $2500 for my finished manuscript with an agreement that I would not have it published elsewhere. unfortunately, none of the illustrations that I purchased for that project were useful for my latest book, Peter Pan on Stage and Screen 1904-2010 so I thought it might be fun to include a few on my blog from time to time. The three postcards featured this week are called Toy Postcards by W.E. Mack which were printed in London circa 1910. (I’m guessing the dates by the costume on Peter as well as the blonde hair which resembles, to a degree, Pauline Chase but I’d welcome a more accurate date.) I purchased all three postcards from the same postcard dealer whom I first met at a Metropolitan Post Card Club exhibition in NYC around 1993. The first was a Peter Pan puppet which is created by cutting out and stringing together the separate body parts featured on the postcard. Because these postcards were purchased to be used by children, most have not remained intact or uncut.The second card, “The Wendy House”, was purchased in 1998 or so, again from the same dealer, only on-line. My friend Simon in England chided me for not knowing about Wendy Houses. I even asked my mother who was raised as a child of wealth during the depression, but no, she too had never referred to playhouses as Wendy Houses. (Unfortunately, my mother’s wealth was diminished while still a child.)
The last, “Nana”, remained very elusive until recently as the only copies I had seen of this one were indeed cut up. The search for “Nana” extended to almost 12 years. And again, it was bought from the same dealer! I have no idea if there are any other Peter Pan themed characters as part of this series.