On this very hot Saturday (a day when all wise pets are taking naps someplace cool), allow me to introduce you to Lombard’s Musical Cats. I looked for information about this postcard on and off for months, and this pair, a mother and son team according to the poem, and their owner remained as mysterious as when I purr-chased the card. (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself….)
I can tell you something about the Auburn Post Card Manufacturing Company, the publishers of this card. The company began as the Whitten-Dennison Post Card Company in Maine, but L. G. Whitten, one of the founders, moved it to Auburn, Indiana, and renamed it in 1913. The company made cards for businesses, cities, and tourist destinations. They were also known for their “comic” postcards on subjects like courtship and holiday cards. This, however, seems to be unique in their output. It is clearly a commission from someone who felt that he could make use of the minimum 500-card order required by APCMC.
And now I think I know the identity of the man behind “Lombard’s Musical Cats.”
Harlan P. Lombard (c. 1862 – 1942) was a composer of spectacularly obscure popular songs in the 1910s and 1920s. He lived in North Eastham, Massachusetts, according to copyright records. The 1920 U.S. Census listed him as a widower and a “music composer.” His works survive in a few pieces of sheet music in public collections. “If You’re a True America, You’re All Right” was self-published in 1917; a copy can be seen in the digital catalog of the Library of Congress. The caption above the song title is “‘Harmony Harl’s’ Patriotic March,” suggesting that he was a recognized local character with a presence as a performer known as Harmony Harl.
So let’s raise a glass of iced tea to the memory of Harmony Harl, Baby, and Thomas Boy!