During the First World War, many Allied officers and soldiers based in France sent silk embroidered postcards to their loved ones back home, in particular to Britain and Canada. From 1917, when American soldiers had arrived in northern France, they also started to send these cards to their families and friends. Many of the cards were illustrated with patriotic symbols, flags, slogans, or sentimental texts.
The embroidery has often been said to be the work of Belgian and French refugee women, as a means to eke out a meagre existence. However, it is evident that the embroidery was carried out by commercial firms using hand embroidery machines. Such firms also produced embroidered cards for the German market, although with different symbols and texts!
All the illustrated postcards are housed in the collection of the Textile Research Centre (TRC), in Leiden, The Netherlands, and included in the TRC catalogue. The text was written by Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood and completed in July 2017. All photographs of the postcards may be freely reproduced for non-commercial purposes, with the note: "Courtesy Textile Research Centre, Leiden" and the relevant TRC catalogue number.