Battle of Flowers Parade Postcards
In 1900, less than ten years after the first Battle of Flowers Parade, book store owner Nic Tengg began advertising tissue paper and other material for use in decorating entries for the parade, the primary event of Spring Carnival (now Fiesta San Antonio). A few years later, on April 14, 1907, he placed an advertisement in the San Antonio Light listing an expanded inventory of carnival goods, including festooning, welcoming flags, confetti, whistles, and “Battle of Flowers Parade Post Cards.” The postcards were produced by the British firm of Rafael Tuck and Sons in London.
The Tuck firm was one of the most well-known during the “postcard boom” in the early 1900s. Before issuing the Battle of Flowers series, they produced a set of color postcards of San Antonio street scenes. About 1905, Tengg also published a set of postcards with black and white halftone views taken by local photographers. It isn’t known if Tengg encouraged the Tucks to produce the Battle of Flowers series.
The set of eight cards are each labeled “Oilette,” a trade name used by Tuck for postcards reproduced from paintings. The Battle of Flowers cards were among the first to have divided backs that allowed users to write messages on the address side of a postcard.
Special Collections has a complete set of the Battle of Flowers Parade postcards, all donated by Marie Whitehead. Each was mailed separately in April 1907 to Mrs. Whitehead’s aunt, Ida Schaefer, residing temporarily in Galveston and not able to attend the parade.