This vintage real photo postcard features a wounded French soldier being treated by his fellow combatant. The soldier doing the nursing helps his buddy by pouring some absinthe into the cup that the wounded man is holding. The injured man seems to be very pleased as he awaits his medicinal drink. What is absinthe? It is a distilled highly alcoholic beverage. Absinthe became a highly popular drink in late 19th and early 20th century France. It is a drink that was later portrayed as dangerous and seen as a hallucinogen. By 1915, it was banned in the US and much of Europe (including France). Although the ban of absinthe and the start outbreak of World War I occurred close together in time, author Doris Lanier, in her book “Absinthe–The Cocaine of the Nineteenth Century……..” (1994), notes that soldiers continued to enjoy absinthe during the war. Back to the photograph. Note the storage holders on the shelf above the injured man’s bed. It appears that they were used to hold the hospitalized patient’s clothing and belongings. My description of this interesting photograph contains some conjecture. Perhaps you have a different interpretation of this image. If so, please share your ideas in the comment section.





Published in: on January 30, 2016 at 3:54 pm  Comments (13)  
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13 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Are those initials on his blanket?

  2. My guess is laundry identification mark. So it at least gets back to the right ward.

  3. Are all of these cabinet cards in your collection? I have plenty of personal cabinet cards of family and friends (some also from stage productions) from the 1860s-early 1900s, mostly from Chicago and Germany. I can send you scans if you’d like to add them on your website.

    • Up to this point in time, all the photographs in The Cabinet Card Gallery are part of my collection. However, I would like to open the gallery for guest exhibitions. Please feel free to send scans of your favorite cabinet cards in your collection to bmarshphd@gmail.com and I will post them to the gallery if they are appropriate. Thanks.

  4. Hi, I have a large collection of cabinet cards (most from the 1870s and 1880s) of family and friends, and also stage productions. I have plenty scanned and can scan more. Would you like me to send them to you to add on your website?

  5. I also have several family postcards from Serbia and Macedonia from the 1920s and ’30s.

    • It would be wonderful to see the scans and enter some of the best images into the gallery. I would of course credit the images to you. If you could write a description of the images that would be terrific.

      • I will send them then. I have only a few scanned but lots more I will scan. Over the next few days I will scan the rest of the collection.

      • I look forward to seeing the images. Thanks.

      • I sent some last night. Did you receive them?

  6. On closer inspection, I wonder if this is a set-up meant for a humorous photo. It looks less like a hospital setting than a (admittedly sloppy and unmilitary looking) barracks. The ‘patient’ is wearing suspenders(?) in bed and his head ‘bandage’ seems bizarre. A coat is on top of his blanket. Strange things hang from the hooks. Overhead storage is barracks-like. Their expressions are … ? I served in hospitals in WW2 and this, even for France in WW1, doesn’t look right (unhospital?) Probably wrong, but I think they were having fun.

    • I had the same thoughts that you do about this actually being an attempt at being humorous. That is part of the fun in seeing many of these vintage images. Our interpretations make up a large percentage of our perceptions and emotional reaction to these photographs.


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