John Hardman's RevMexPC Website
by John Hardman     EMail:
P.O.Box721, Warren, OH 44482-0721
Also see Link McGinty Cannon "Blue Whistler" Postcards
Link "Soldiers of Fortune" in the Mexican Revolution
of the Mexican Revolution

Much of Mexico's history for the decade of 1910-1920 was recorded by hundreds of photographers on postcards. Using glass plate cameras and early cut film cameras, primitive by today's standards, the photographers faced injury and death to obtain negatives which would be printed on postcard stock and sold to the soldiers and general public on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border. Some of the views were obviously posed, and others showed the death and destruction resulting from the violence of a nation involved in a bloody civil war.
Many times the revolution spilled across the border or involved U.S. military forces. The United States occupied Vera Cruz for nearly seven months in 1914 after Mexican officials arrested an American seaman. In 1916, Mexicans raided Glenn Springs, Texas, and Pancho Villa and his army crossed the border at Columbus, New Mexico, burned part of the town and killed seventeen soldiers and civilians. President Woodrow Wilson ordered General John J. Pershing to lead a "Punitive Expedition" into Mexico to kill or capture Villa. Villa eluded Pershing, and after eleven months the expedition returned to the United States.
For more information about the postcards of the Mexican revolution, the Columbus, New Mexico raid, Pershing's Punitive Expedition, and the U.S. occupation of Vera Cruz you can read the following books:
BORDER FURY, A Picture Postcard History of Mexico's Revolution and U.S. War Preparedness 1910-1917 by Paul J. Vanderwood and Frank N. Samponaro. Alburqueque NM. University of New Mexico Press 1988.
Check out the Association of American University Presses Online Catalog AAUP.

WAR SCARE ON THE RIO GRANDE, Robert Runyon's Photographs of the Border Conflict 1913-1916 by Frank N. Samponaro and Paul J. Vanderwood. Austin, TX. Texas State Historical Association 1992.
Check out the Texas State Historical Association's
Publications and Books by Author.

Mexico 1910
Mexico 1920
Click on any photo for enlargement.

1878 - 1923

Pancho Villa
Unused Postcard
Francisco Villa
D.W.Hoffman, photographer
Born June 5, 1878 in Grande, Durango. Became a fugitive when he killed an hacendado for attacking his sister. Joined the Madero revolution in 1910. Returned to civilian life and operated a butcher shop after Madero's revolt was successful. When Orozco rebelled against Madero, Villa returned to the field of battle. In 1916, he raided Columbus, New Mexico. Villa continued to fight until 1920 when he surrendered his troops to Adolfo de la Huerta. Retired to Hacienda Canutillo until 1923. He was ambushed and killed on July 23, 1923 in Parral.

Francisco Villa Stereoview
Villa - the Great Rebel Leader of Mexico.
unknown, photographer

Stereoviews were an important part of the
photographic history of the Mexican Revolution.

1873 - 1913

Francisco I. Madero
Unused Postcard
Presidente De Mexico
F. I. Madero
unknown, photographer
Madero Pinback Button
Can anyone tell me when,
and for what purpose
this pinback was issued?

Born in Parras, Coahuila on October 30, 1873. Son of a wealthy landowner. Family was devoted to ranching, farming and commerce. Studied commerce and economics in France and agriculture in the U.S. Saw the need to improve conditions in Mexico. Ran for president of Mexico against Diaz. Was arrested and then released, on bail, after Diaz had been declared President. Jumped bail and fled to the U.S. In 1910, he led a revolt against the Diaz administration. Was successful in forcing Diaz into exile in 1911. Elected president in 1911. Many groups became disenchanted with Madero's handling of Mexico's problems and in 1913, revolted against him. Madero was overthrown and killed.

Francisco I. Madero
Francisco I. Madero
Advertising Postcard
Translation of text on postcard:
Large Photography and Photoengraving Studio
This is the only business in the state that relies on the most modern equipment to produce all jobs in photography and photoengraving. It has many competent photographers and photoengravers. It can, with guarantee, offer to publish the best works as soon as possible.
This is the only business that makes enlargements of the famous ones by a special system and the business tries to be always at the height of modern procedures.
In short, Guerra Photography is the one that does the best work and to be convinced, one does not have but to visit the business located at 514 63rd Street in front of the Central Police Station.

1854 - 1916

Victoriano Huerta
Unused Postcard
Gen. Victoriano Huerta
On reverse: Gen. Victoriano Huerta,
President protem of the Mexican Republic.
Casa Miret, photographer
Born March 23, 1854 in Colotlan, Jalisco. Educated in a rural school and attended Colegio Militar de Chapaltepec. Huerta's career advanced during the Diaz presidency. Huerta was allowed to remain in the army when Madero became president. Was named head of the federal forces when Orozco and others rebelled against Madero. In February 1913, Huerta overthrew Madero and assumed control of the government. Although not a candidate, Huerta was elected president in October of 1913 and immediately began having problems with the economy and Constitutionalist opposition. Resigned on July 15, 1914 and went into exile in Europe. In June 1915, Huerta tried to return to Mexico through the U.S. Was arrested with Pascual Orozco and detained at Ft. Bliss. Huerta became ill and died January 14, 1916.

1859 - 1920

Venustiano Carranza
Unused Postcard
Gral. Venustiano Carranza
1st Jefe Constitucionalista
unknown, photographer
Carranza Pinback Button
Can anyone tell me when,
and for what purpose
this pinback was issued?

Born in 1859 as one of fifteen children of a wealthy landowner. Well educated. Entered politics as a municipal president. Later served as a state legislator, federal deputy and state governor under Diaz. Joined with Madero in 1909 to plan an armed rebellion against Diaz. Minister of war in Madero's provisional government and later interim governor of Coahuila. Elected governor in December 1911. Assumed leadership of the rebellion against Huerta. Named First Chief of the Constitutionalists. Elected president in 1917. Tried to install a candidate favorable to him in the 1920 presidential election. Obregon, who was a candidate for president, rebelled. Carranza tried to flee to Vera Cruz. On May 20. 1920, he was killed as he slept in a small wooden hut in San Antonio Tlaxcalantongo.

1882 - 1915

Pascual Orozco, Jr.
Unused Postcard
Pascual Orozco
unknown, photographer
Born January 28, 1882 near Guerrero, Chihuahua. Attended a rural school, then worked in his father's store. At the age of 20, was a muleteer guarding ore shipments from the mines to the smelters. Became a successful merchant. Joined the revolutionary movement in October 1910. After Diaz resigned, was named commander of the rurales in Chihuahua. Rebelled against Madero in March 1912. After Madero's death, allied his forces with Huerta. When Huerta fled to Europe, Orozco rebelled against the Constitutionalists, but soon realized the futility of his actions. Fled to the U.S. where he plotted rebellion in exile. Orozco was arrested with Huerta and charged with violating U.S. neutrality laws. Released on bond and placed under house arrest. Orozco escaped and was killed while fleeing a posse.

1879 - 1919

Emiliano Zapata
Unused Postcard
Gral. Emiliano Zapata
unknown, photographer
Born August 8, 1879, in Anenecuilco, Morelos. Was a mediero (sharecropper) and horse trainer. Conscripted into the army for seven years attaining the rank of sergeant. As president of the village council, he campaigned for the restoration of village lands confiscated by hacendados. His slogan was "Tierra Y Libertad." Zapata sided with Madero. Between 1910 and 1919, Zapata continued his fight for land and liberty, rebelling against anyone who interfered with his Plan of Ayala which called for the seizure of all foreign owned land, all land taken from villages, confiscation of one-third of all land held by "friendly" hacendados and full confiscation of land owned by persons opposed to the Plan of Ayala. On April 10, 1919, Zapata was tricked into a meeting with one of Carranza's generals who wanted to "switch sides." The meeting was a trap, and Zapata was killed as he arrived at the meeting.

Click on either photograph for enlargement.
Latvian Language       Latvian Language
Unused Postcard
The Worker, photographer
Translation by Daumants Belte,
The language is Latvian or maybe Lithuanian(1).

My ethnic background is Latvian, which is the language this card seems to be written in. Not to make things too easy though, it uses an antiquated German-style spelling and font format, where appearance of the letters is not only "unusual", but also changes depending on placement within the word. I am not really too familiar with that style, but hey, I saw a couple of old books printed that way when I was a kid. Anyway, here's what I think I can make out of it, converted to "modern" Latvian spelling (but without the umlaut, etcetera symbols.)

Meksikas Revloucionari
Notiesati 16 Maija (pedejie tris) uz 18 menesiem cietuma, Tombstona, Arizona; Pirmais paturets gadu cietuma bez tiesas izlaists pret salogu(2). Vinus visus vaja par "neitralitates parskirsanu(3)".
Translation of text on postcard:
Mexican Revolutionaries
Sentenced on 16 May (the last three) to 18 months in prison, Tombstone, Arizona; the first was kept in prison for a year without trial, released by agreement(2). They were all prosecuted for "neutrality border violations(3)".
Politisks, sabiedrisks, un literatisks laikraksts. (?) otrdienas un piektdienas. Adrese: ......
Translation of text on postcard:
The Worker
A political, trade union, and literary newspaper. (?) tuesdays and fridays. Address: ......

Now the real mystery is WHY that type of postcard was ever printed in Latvian.

(1) Considering the "odd" spelling used throughout (from a modern Latvian perspective), it's possible the language on the card may actually be Lithuanian. The two have enough in common, where much of a conversation could be "understood" by either group, but details differ sufficiently that proper grammar, spelling, and some words are quite distinct. Tough to tell from a brief sample like the text on the card.

(2) The obstinate "salogu". As in high-school Latin, where I was always confused whenever Caesar was fighting "with" someone (a thing he did a lot of), did it actually imply "with" or "against" them which seemed to depend on the specific battle... also sort of like the Mexican Revolution. That phrase would then translate out to either "against agreement" or maybe "by agreement".

(3) Written Latvian uses "v" and "-" symbols above some letters, and a "," symbol below others, to note different pronunciations (e.g. "ch" & "sh" for "c" & "s", etcetera.) In the old German-style text on the card, these symbols have been replaced with alternate letter styles, and additional follow-on letter-combinations for the same purpose, neither of which are found in modern usage. The worst such example is the very last word on the card front; "parskirsanu", has four of its letters, a, k, and s (twice) requiring the "-", "v", and "," symbols in modern Latvian, all in close proximity, making the old-style annotation, which uses added letters, quite spectacular. It means "dividing" or "crossing", as in border. That phrase likely means "neutrality border violations".

I came across your comments on postcard printed in Latvian by Stradnieks (The Worker) newspaper. First of all, you are right - this postcard is printed in Latvian (not Lithuanian) using old German style font format. Actually this is not a mystery why that type of postcard was printed in Latvian. Stradnieks (The Worker) was a newspaper published since 1906 by Latvian social democrats. Initially newspaper was published in Boston, later (as indicated on this postcard) in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. There were many advertisements in Stradnieks informing about demonstrations in support of Mexican revolutionaries, and seems that this post card is one of propaganda materials printed by Stradnieks. Word "salogu" means - security deposit or caution money, i.e. this person was released from prison in exchange for some amount of money. Word "salog" comes from Russian and was used in Latvia in 19th Century and in very beginning of 20th Century. Today we call this "drosibas nauda". You made minor mistake in last word. In fact this word is "parkapsanu", but you understand right meaning of this - violation or breach. Unfortunately I do not recognise word on the opposite side of post card where you put a question mark. This is impossible to read this in Internet picture. Thank you for interesting site. It was a real surprise for me to find out new information and new evidence about activities of Latvian social democrats in USA in beginning of 20th Century. Girts Vitolins, May 17, 2001 10:41

Check out the U.S. Mexican Numismatic Association

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