Category Archives: parrots

“Crosby’s Hungry Pets”: breakfast with the dog, cat and parrot, around 1907

I don’t know about meals at your house, but even when I dine “alone” I am actually not — I’m being observed intently by my dog.  And this is the case here, in this remarkable real photo postcard labeled “Crosby’s Hungry Pets.”  This is the only text on the postcard, which was taken between 1902 and 1907 but was never sent as a postcard.

The photograph shows a couple at home,  with three animals joining them at the table.  I’ve included details so that you can get a good look at the trio of pets. The picture seems to have been taken in a dining room.  It’s a middle-class household, and the space is decorated with a framed print, lace-trimmed shelf  drapery and a two-panel screen behind the man. There are lots of interesting details, including the stacked champagne glasses behind the man.  I think that the meal might be breakfast. The photographer is unknown, but the woman and the dog  (and maybe the parrot) are looking at someone.  The cat and the man are focused on whatever is in the bowl.  The woman actually has a tidbit in her hand to attract the dog’s gaze.

Crosby's Hungry Pets rppc

Real photo postcard of unidentified couple with cat, dog and parrot, location unknown. Between 1902 and 1907.

Until photography became easy and inexpensive enough for lots of people to try their hands at it, many everyday behaviors with pets were undocumented unless people mentioned them in writing.  Along with evidence of mealtime with pets, this postcard suggests peaceful coexistence among the animals, who look very well cared-for.  Let me note here that there are some odd reflections behind the woman’s head;  I think they are an artifact of the exposure.

Crosby's Hungry Pets rppc detail


Crosby's Hungry Pets rppc detail 2

Enjoy looking at “Crosby’s Hungry Pets.”  I wish we knew more about the subjects of this wonderful real photo postcard!

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Watching the parrot….

Real photo postcards taken by pet owners in the early 1900s sometimes provide wonderful glimpses of cats, dogs, and birds engaged in everyday behaviors without paying attention to the human being pointing that stupid black box in their direction. We get a sense of relationships and routines of pet care.  Here’s a nice example.

This postcard depicts blog scans 27Apr15 a pair of feline siblings watching the family parrot, whose cage has been set out on what seems to be the back step to get some fresh air and sunshine.  The postcard came into my collection with a second image, a portrait of the cats waiting at the door, perhaps to be let in or to be given their supper since the parrot was too well protected to allow anything but a little recreational birdwatching.

blog scans 27Apr15_0001Unfortunately, these postcards are not marked with names, dates or locations.  From the marks on the back of the cards, they date from around 1920. Still, they provide a bit more information on the daily lives of pets in households a century ago.

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Filed under bird cages, cats, material culture, parrots, pet photography, pets, real photo postcard