C.A. Seward

1884 - 1939

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Shortly after establishing his freelance commercial design studio in Wichita,  Seward began a collaboration with another tenant of the Butts Building  H.R. (Henry R. - Fannie) Schmidt. To date records document that Schmidt in 1911 established himself as a wholesaler and retailer as well as publisher of post cards. Schmidt’s first known location was in suite 416-421 of the Butts Building at the Southwest corner of 1st Street and North Lawrence (Broadway).  Seward’s first design studio, opened in 1909, also occupied space in the the original Butts building at 125 South Lawrence.  This postcard design venture demonstrates the wide range of Seward’s skill as a commercial artist.

In 1911, Seward received a commission from the Kansas Development Association and created the design for a commemorative, promotional postcard for the 50th Anniversary of the State of Kansas’ admission into statehood.  The next year, in 1912 he was again commissioned to create a promotional postcard to celebrate Kansas Day 1913. This second design of 1912 included a blank area in which local merchants could insert their own advertising copy.  H.R. Schmidt company published and promoted both of these postcards.

This same year, 1911, Seward and Schmidt also collaborated on two series of cartoon character postcards.  The first was a series of eight known as  “Hans and Gretchen.”  The second was called the “Seward Kids” and it was also a series of eight cards.  Both of these series are signed by Seward and copyrighted by H.R. Schimidt & Co. but they are not imprinted with a date or location for the publisher.  By 1912 research indicates that the H.R. Schmidt Company also had a location in Denver, Colorado although until 1923 Schmidt can be documented in Wichita. Research shows that in 1917 Schmidt had established a retail post card shop located at 106 North Main, in the Schweiter Building. By 1923 he appears to have sold or just closed his postcard business and become a full time realtor.

Another group of known postcards was a series of portraits of Native Americans.  None of these images are signed or dated.  Some have handwritten notations about the subject of the portrait.  In a letter to his friend, western author, Stanely Vestal (aka, Walter Stanley Campbell) Seward mentions his photographs of these Native Americans. 

The final group consists of images that are reproductions of prints and sculpture by Seward.  Each card includes the image with a title and notation that the work is by C.A. Seward.  These appear to have been used by Seward in his correspondence with other artists.  In the Seward Family collection there is a postcard of Seward’s lithograph Taos Gate with a note to printmaker, Louis Lozowick.


Kansas Day Postcards

1911 - 50th Anniversary

1912 - 51st Anniversary

Seward Kids

Series of 8 published in 1911copyrighted H.R.S. & Co. printed in black on buff paper

signed by Seward

Hans & gretchen

Series of 8 published in 1911 copyrighted, H.R.S. & Co.

signed by Seward

Native American portraits

Series of 8 published about 1909-1916

unsigned and not documented

Other Postcards

Various other postcard format reproductions of Seward’s prints and sculpture also exist.  None are signed dated or copyrighted.  It is assumed that these may also have been published by H.R. Schmidt.

Seward - postcards

Images on this page (top to bottom, left to right): All from the Seward Family Collection.

Sources:  Hal Ottaway and the research notes of Bert P. Jones of the Wichita Postcard Club.