The Postcard Artistry of Augustus L. Jansson
with historical notes and a checklist for collectors

Series 4400

A Round Up

A Roundabout Miss

A Swelled Head

"Hansom" Dan


I Have No body to Care For

I Still Loves Chicken

Not A Jew

The lid is on

Without a Peer

A Fair Target

All Attention!

It's a Sad Story

Little Willie

Not A Shaper

Sober Sue

Some body Wanted

The Queen

Those Goo Goo Eyes

Who Said Watermelon*
Series 4500

A Little Forward

A Perfect Fit

Decidedly Military

Evenly Balanced

Hot Air


Just Simple

Leading a Checkered ...

Miss Kangaroo

Napoleon in Disguise

Not a Citizen of USA

Rockefeller's Money ...

Simple, so Awfully ...

The Beau Brummel

"The Town Bully"

The Village Cutup

There was I Waiting ...

"To the Golf Links"
Series 4500  The Parade of Beasts

A Prize Winner

Entered by Count Dikakiak

Entered by the Ra-jah

It Comes High

On the Hog

Popular at the Animal Show

So Haughty and Proud

The Beauty and the Beast

The Democratic Party

"The Grand Old Party"

The Pride of the Desert
*Private collection of Fred & Barb Anwari          

Augustus Ludwig Jansson of West Somerville, MA, was born April 17, 1866. Of Swedish decent he was the first child of Janne L. Jansson and Anna C. Lennaron Jansson who married in Boston August 10, 1865. His sister Christian was five years younger than he and Alice was 13 years younger. Their father made his living as an upholsterer while the family resided at 102 Wallace Street in West Somerville, MA.

As a commercial artist and a cartoonist Jansson's work appeared in comic strips, in book illustrations, advertising, and on postcards. Census records show A. L. Jansson's employment in 1910 to be in advertising and in 1920 as a salesman but it is not clear whether this was for a printing company.

Comic strips at the beginning of the 20th century were not the same as we see today. As Moon Rhymes and In Plaiddie Land Jansson's early  comic work was published in 1901 in the Boston Herald, and from April 17 to July 3, 1904 his segmented cartoon The Odd Folks Baseball Team appeared in the newspaper's Sunday color strip. Also in 1904, his images appeared in the newspaper's illustrated stories of the American Revolution.

That same year his work was published by Caldwell in the book Hobby Hoss Fair. Jansson's work for Queen City Publishing Ink Co. extended over several year. His larger illustrations for them offered more complex pictures found on full page layouts in the trade journal Inland Printers. Five years later Wedgwood produced Etruria China, an entire set of porcelain dinnerware with Jansson's figures of kings, queens and their court. Some remark about these characters as reminiscent of playing card figures but no cards are know.

Copyrighted as 1904, the 4400 Series is a set of hat wearing whimsical heads titled to define male and female, rather odd characters. Many of the titles are in poor form or contain wit far removed from current understanding, but at the time Jansson took great liberty with literary lines and technical lines and curves. All cards in the 4500 Series are vertical. Only 29 of the 30 reported cards have been identified. These include full length individuals and eleven cards with banner carrying animals. Appearing as a Queen City Ink Company display at a 1906 trade convention, these more elaborate figures with animals appeared as banner carrying advertisements in the "Ink Beasts Parade" and were named the "Inkydinks".

Series 4400
is marked as 18 in the set, but presently 20 cards are identified. Series 4500 has 30 cards, those with and without a parade of animals with advertising banner. There is a 10-card set of Colonial Characters, and a theater production advertisement of at least four cards for the Boston opening of the operetta Prince of Pilsen. Also on postcards are advertising figures for various companies including the Chicago publisher Ransom H. Randall and Queen City Publishing Ink. Unsigned, his illustrations appear on B.K.W.I. published postcards. Some of Jansson's work is identified by name or the initials ALJ. When in doubt, look for the quarter-moon shaped eyelids.

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A story about his wit and odd characters can be found in Postcard World Magazine, 2013 Nov/Dec and the online magazine The Postcard Matters (presently on leave). For museum recognition of Jansson's work see the Davistown Museum in Liberty, Maine.

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With great appreciation to Alex Jay for his well researched understanding of Jansson and his work. See

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