Sunday, March 17, 2013

Views of Bohemia

These two postcards were mailed five years apart, the first to an address in Kutná Hora (or Kuttenberg) in Bohemia and the second from Kutná Hora to Cleveland, Ohio. Both recipients were named Čermák, and if the abbreviated first name on the first card is Antonín, as I suspect, then the two cards were either mailed to the same person or to two (probably related) people of the same name.

Čermák seems to be a fairly common family name, but during the period these cards were mailed a prominent violin maker named Josef Antonín Čermák was active in Kutná Hora, and the later card appears to be signed either Jusef or Josef. Coincidentally or not, one of the violin maker's students, Jan Baptista Vavra, was active in Smichov in Prague, which was where the first card was postmarked. The signature on the front of the card, however, is definitely not that of Vavra.

The printed message at the top of the first card reads Podrav ze Smíchova! -- "Greetings from Smichov!" It was issued by F. J. Jedlička, a well-known publisher of postcards in Prague. There's a somewhat uncanny quality about the left side of the image, which shows a couple walking together along a deserted street that hardly seems to belong with the view of the Vltava to the right. The view of Kutná Hora was published by one Josef Zajíc.

I can't read Czech and can't transcribe the handwriting on the later card, so for now that's about as much as I can say.

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