1905 R.F. Outcault / J. Ottmann Postcards Set and Checklist

‘It’s In The Details’

Title R.F. Outcault / J. Ottmann Postcards
Year 1905
Size 3 1/2″ x 5 1/2″
Images Color
Type Postcards
Number in Set

1905 R.F. Outcault / J. Ottmann Overview

1905 Outcault Harvard Yale Football PostcardThis postcard series featured a variety of sports and non-sports subjects. The cartoon artwork for the postcards was developed by R.F. Outcault and they were published by the J. Ottmann Lithographic Company based in New York. All of the postcards in the set have the artist signature of RF Outcault.

Outcault produced the artwork for numerous non-sports (primarily comical) issues in addition this set. He also worked with Ottmann in the production of other postcard series’.

Richard F. Outcault was born in 1863 and died in 1928. He was sometimes called, “The father of the comic strip.” The New York Times, in September of 1928, credited him by saying he ‘fashioned what we now know as a comic strip.’

While most of the postcards feature non-sports subjects, a few sports postcards are included. Two of the postcards feature cartoon depictions of both Harvard and Yale football players. One focuses on Harvard and is titled, “You’re Always Kicking.” It presents a gory image of a Harvard punter trying to kick the ball away with his leg flying off as a Yale defender rushes for the ball on the ground. The Yale postcard features a Yale kicker punting the ball away to an unsuspecting Yale player, hitting him in the chest. That one is titled, “I Hope You’re on for the Ball.”

Outcault Golf PostcardThe two issues are obviously part of the same series as they have a similar layout and each has a respective school pennant in the upper left corner. Neither are numbered and the backs do not indicate the name of a series. Harvard and Yale were often popular subjects for early football issues. The sport was still growing and the rivalry between those two schools was a focal point for postcard sets.

In addition to the football postcards, at least two baseball postcards are in the set. One features a runner headed for home plate with the catcher ready to receive a baseball. This postcard includes the caption ‘I expect to be home soon.’ A second features a pitcher with an errant throw towards a batter, striking him in the face. That caption is ‘I hear you made a great hit.’

So there are the two baseball and two football postcards, but a few other sports, such as golf and billiards are also included in the set. On top of those, collectors will find various other non-sports Outcault postcards. Some have the same type of layout/design and could be considered a part of this issue.

1905 R.F. Outcault / J. Ottmann Postcards Checklist

Below are the known sports postcards in the series.

  1. Baseball Scene (I expect to be home soon)
  2. Baseball Scene (I hear you made a great hit)
  3. Billiards
  4. Bowling (Spare, oh spare us)
  5. Fishing (Not on your life)
  6. Golf (Yours just received)
  7. Harvard Football (You’re always kicking)
  8. Princeton Football (Go as far as you like)
  9. Yale Football (I hope you’re on for the ball)

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