Nevada Post Cards
H. G. Zimmerman
by Robert Stoldal
(Updated October 25, 2020)
The Chicago, Illinois based “H. G. Zimmerman & Company,” printed postcard views of at least seven Nevada communities between 1907 and 1911.
The Nevada towns include Blair, Ely, Goldfield, Hawthorne, Imlay, and Sparks. The seventh Nevada town is Tonopah, however, the two cards with Tonopah images are mistitled “Goldfield.”
There are twenty-four different known Zimmerman post cards of Nevada. It is likely there are between five and 10 more.
Before Zimmerman moved to Chicago he was a cartoonist who worked out of Horseheads, New York.
The following was found in the “Annual Edition 1981” of the “Post Card Collector’s Book;” Zimmerman was a “popular and caricaturist who enjoyed a nice standard of living from his freelance commercial art for newspapers, “Judge” magazine, and the postcard media. Hs lovely residence in Horsehead, New York, served him well as a summer studio and was a popular gathering place for his many friends and relatives.”
The “Post Card Collectors” magazine was published and written by Bernard Stadtmiller. The Zimmerman story is found on page 768.
In his 1981 Zimmerman article, titled “Sappies and Snppies by Zim,” Stadtmiller says “one of Zim’s most successful” post card series was titled “Now What would you do in a case like this?”
At the time, Stadmiller said Zimmerman’s “cards are quite popular with today’s collector as many of his creations are still in vogue.”
In an interesting ending to his brief article on Zimmerman, Stadtmiller wrote, Zimmerman’s Chicago “business thrived and “Zim” published a variety of interesting type cards which other publishers had successfully pioneered.”
Zimmerman’s Nevada views were printed in color and black and white but no view was printed both ways.
The Nevada post cards are smaller than the standard size at the time, of 5 ½ inches by 3 ½ inches. Most of the Zimmerman’s post cards are only 5 ¼ by 3¼.
Alpha-numeric Code on Zimmerman Post Cards
Most Nevada Zimmerman post cards have an alpha-numeric code printed on the card. For example, “B1669A7.”
So far this code has been found only on the face of the post card.
The first alpha could represent the year, “A” meaning 1907, “B” 1908 etc.
The first four numbers may represent the overall series topic or location, while the last three characters represent the sequence within the series.
Possible series sequence. For example in the Goldfield series.
The first card is A921A10, the second card is A921B10, the third card is A921C10 and so forth.
Or, the code has nothing to do with the location and instead it is either a printing or order code, or both or something else.
A later Zimmerman card, showing the hotel at Imlay, does not have a printed code.
The earliest known postmark on this post card is March, 1911. Based on order and shipping times, it is likely the Imlay Hotel post card was first order late in 1910 or early 1911.
In addition not have an alphanumeric code, the size of this postcard matched the standard size of post cards being issued at the time by other publishers.
Unique Nevada views on Zimmerman Post Cards
The images on most of the Zimmerman post cards of Nevada provide views of well covered topics. There are two Nevada locations, where “side pocket” salesmen were able to make a sale for Zimmerman in communities passed by other post card publishers.
It is likely Zimmerman printed a series of color views of Hawthorne Nevada in 1908-1909.
Early printed color post cards of Hawthorne, located on the southern tip of Walker Lake in west central Nevada, are scarce.
While the community was a stop on the way to the boom towns of Tonopah and Goldfield, apparently few postcard salesmen got off the train.
One agent likely got off the train and made a sale.
The Hawthorne series and we should put the word “series” in quotes as only one post card, B2377B2 titled “E Street, Hawthorne, Nev.” has been uncovered.
But, the alphanumeric code indicates there is a B2377B1, and likely a B2377B3, and possibly more. The question is, are the post cards views of Hawthorne?
An unnumbered Zimmerman postcard titled “Hotel and Depot, Imlay, Nev.” is the only known printed color post card of the Southern Pacific Railroad Hotel.
The hotel and depot are long gone.
The small community of Imlay is located 34 miles west of Winnemucca and 40 miles east of Lovelock just off Interstate 80.
One Zimmerman post card, from Sparks, B155A1, titled “Harriman Avenue, Sparks, Nev.” is known to exist.
The titles of two Nevada post cards from Zimmerman have location errors.
The titles of two of the post cards, A921B10 and A921C10, showing houses made of bottles and one made of barrels Both titles place the structures in Goldfield, when in fact the homes were built in Tonopah.
How many Zimmerman post card with Nevada views were printed.
The price and the minimum number in an order would change during the six plus years Zimmerman was printing post cards.
The price would of course also depend on the type of post card Zimmerman was selling or the retailer wanted.
One post card with a Chicago postmark April 23, 1910 showing the Zimmerman building offered; “This is a sample of our Zimochrome cards which we make to order from local photographs. Price in quantities of 500 of a subject $6.50; in quantities of 1,000 of a subject $7.50. Time required for delivery is three weeks.”
Another Zimmerman postcards, number 9827B2E says “This is a sample of the cards which we make to order from local photographs in hand colored work. Price in quantities of 500 of each subject, $6.50; in quantities of 1,000 of each subject, $9.00. Time required for deliver 3 weeks.
Based on the number of publishers already providing post cards to central Nevada boom towns, it is likely the Nevada retailers ordered 500, rather than 1000 Zimmerman view cards.
Based on post cards with different backs featuring the same views, it is also likely Zimmerman received a second order for a some of the Goldfield black and white post cards.
Retailers, Photographers. Publishers?
It is possible that Zimmerman was connected with two Goldfield business, the Allen Photo Company and the Polin Brothers.
The two firms could have ordered the post cards, or in the case of Allen Photo, simply supplied Zimmerman with the images on the post cards.
Allen Photo Company
Two Zimmerman post cards have views connected with the “Allen Photo Company” of Goldfield, Nevada.
The company was owned and operated by photographer Arthur Allen. He arrived in Goldfield in 1904 and took over the operation of one of the camps pioneer William Irving Booth.
Booth left the photography business selling his “set up” to Allen. He likley also sold the rights to his photographs.
Even though Booth took several of the photographs used for post cards by Allen, only Allen’s photo company appears on the post cards indicating Allen bought Booth’s entire operation.
Booth continued to work in the central Nevada area for many years, not as a photographer but in real estate and mining.
The image on Zimmerman post card A921B10 titled “House made of 10,000 Beer Bottles, Goldfield, Nev.” was also released by Allen with the title “Made of 10,000 Beer Bottles, Goldfield, Nevada.”
The house was built by William F. Peck in late summer, early fall of 1903. In December of 1903 a story was sent out to newspapers around the country.
On January 2, 1904 The Times-Democrat in Lima, Ohio published the story with the photograph of the two children in front of the house that appears on the Allen and Zimmerman post cards.
The photograph taken by pioneer photographer Booth shows Peck’s two children, Wesley three years old and Mary seven years old, standing in front of the building.
A second Allen connected image, Zimmerman A921C10 “House Made of Barrels, Goldfield, Nev.” was also released by Allen’s company titled “House Made of Barrels, Goldfield, Nevada.”
Beyond those two images, no other known relationship has been established between Allen and Zimmerman.
E. H. Mitchell
At the time Zimmerman entered the Nevada post card arena, major publishers and distributors, from E. H. Mitchell to the Newman Post Card company, were already on the scene.
Several of the images found on a Zimmerman printed cards are also found on post cards published by other including Mitchell. For example;
1. A921D10 “Mohawk Mines, Goldfield, Nev.” Released by Mitchell divided back, in color, “808 Mohawk Mine, Goldfield, Nevada.”
2. A921E10 “General View of Goldfield, Nev.” Released by Mitchell, divided back, in color, 807 “General View of Goldfield, Nevada.”
The Polin Brothers, Harry and Louis, operated newsstands and soda foundations in several western towns including Goldfield and Tonopah.
Their hand stamped credit line is found on the back of “A921J10 High Grade Ore for Deposit in Safety Vaults, Goldfield, Nevada.”
Beyond the hand stamp, and the facts that the two brothers retailed the views of different post card publishers and printers, no other relationship has been established between the Polins and Zimmerman.
There are three types of known Zimmerman backs on Nevada post cards.
One thing that is common to all the backs is the Zimmerman logo: a man carrying a package with the letters “ZIM.”
All the same logo, just different colors? Or Hat vs Cap? Front foot up, front foot down?
1. (ZB1) Black ZIM man left hand corner of back. With credit line that reads “H.
G. Z. & Co.” on the upper left edge of the back of the card.
2. Black ZIM. Moved up about 25% on the bottom left side and move 5/16
of an inch towards the right.
3. Green ZIM man moved to the top left corner. No credit line right
4. Brown ZIM bottom left corner with credit line “Published by H G.
Zimmerman & Co.” “T” divided back is differ Appears to be an open
book design on the top of the vertical line on the back.
With the exception of the ZIM post card with the Imlay Hotel all of the rest of the Nevada postcards have a message on the left side that read;
“This side may have a message written upon it for
POSTAGE IN THE UNITED STATE AND EUROPE.
The right hand side must be reserved for stamp
1907 marks the year the U.S. Post Office allowed messages to be written on the address side of post cards. Up until that time senders had to write their message around the edges of the face of the post card.
There are many different backs on Zimmerman post cards, divided and undivided, including different colors, the following four back types are found on the known post cards with Nevada views.
ZB1 no Zimmerman credit line
ZB2, Published by “H. G. Z. & Co.” credit line
ZB3, No Zimmerman credit line.
ZB4, “Published by H. G. Zimmerman & Co. Chicago” credit line
Known Chronology of “H.G. Zimmerman & Co.”
From leather, to silk to two card panoramas, from comic to holiday, to views across the United States, “H.G. Zimmerman & Co.” was a full service post card creator between late 1906 and early 1912.
Based in Chicago, Illinois, late in 1906 or early in 1907 Zimmerman opened a west coast office in San Francisco.
At this point, it is not known, if Zimmerman was renting a print shop in Chicago, or using a local printing operation to make his post cards.
By winter of 1907 Zimmerman had was doing well enough to lease a large building.
Stadtmiller said Zimmerman made th move to Chicago, feeling “this area was not as competitive as his native New York.”
In November of 1907, according to the Chicago Daily Tribune issue of November 17, 1907, Zimmerman leased a new two-story brick building on Michigan Avenue for two years and four months at a term rental of $8,550.”
The June 30, 1907 San Francisco City Directory lists “Zimmerman H. G. & Co, pubrs souvenir post crds, 915 Van Ness av, S.G., tel Franklin 2688.”
Based on a review of post cards with images of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, Zimmerman issued a series in black and white, with undivided backs and then the same views in color with divided backs.
At one point, a relative, Charles Zimmerman, took over the San Francisco office, but by November of 1909 the west coast operation was closed.
By the end of 1907, Zimmerman’s operation was located in a two story building named “THE HOUSE THAT ZIM BUILT.”
On November 15, 1907 the public was informed “the new two story brick building at 3021-3023 Michigan Avenue has been leased” to “H. G. Zimmerman & Co.”
The lease ran until March of 1910 at a total rental cost of $8,500. Zimmerman is still at this address as late as April 1912.
Based on classified newspaper advertisement Zimmerman placed in newspapers around the country it is clear that much of his business was based on the work of “side pocket” aka “vest pocket” salesmen. (Anaconda Montana Standard, 2-21-1909)
Then in the spring of 1911 Zimmerman took another approach to sell his post cards.
With the exception of a law suit over stock in his post card company, Zimmerman and his publishing company disappears from sight. At about the same time, an H.G. Zimmerman appears as an automotive accessory salesman. This H.G. Zimmerman quickly moves up the ladder and becomes a major player with the General Motors Corporation. The same H.G. Zimmerman? Likely, but more information is needed on the closure of “The House that Zim Built” on Michigan Avenue in Chicago.
“H. G. Zimmerman & Company” becomes incorporated public publishing, manufacturing and merchandise business.
In June of 1910, the Zimmerman post card company was incorporated as a “publishing, manufacturing and merchandise business.”
With capital stock of $250,000.
The company’s incorporators were Charles Center Case Jr., James V. Hickey and Frederick Second.”
Zimmerman was listed as President and “A. Hansen” as Secretary. Zimmerman listed his home address as 3743 Indianan Avenue, not far from his office.
American Post Card Association
In May of 1908, Zimmerman was named vice president of the newly formed American Post Card Association.
According to the association’s press release the goal of the associations was “eliminating many present evils” in the post card trade “with the hope that the movement will become national for the protection of the industry as a whole.”
A central issue, at the time, was the imposition of tariffs on imported post cards. The U.S. Congress was holding hearings on the issue in 1908.
For Zimmerman and has American Post Card Association other important issues included “the matter of censorship of post cards” and the establishment of “some standard by which manufacturers can guarantee cards to be immune from prosecution.”
Also of concern to the newly formed post card association credit lines on post card and the challenges trying to “control salesmen.”
For a variety reasons the post card industry fell on hard times; over stock, prices dropped, too many publishers and the public’s slipping interest.
Late in November of 1911 Zimmerman placed an classified advertisement in a Chicago began looking for twenty “girls’ for “counting post cards.”
Zimmerman Stock Subject of Law Suit
In 1912 stock in the Zimmerman post card company was the subject of a suit involving trading stock in his post card company for land. According to the suit Zimmerman said his company was “importing from foreign countries and manufacturing post cards, which it was selling in great quantities and at enormous profit.”
The response to the suits, Zimmerman had “not foreseen the failure of the post card and mail order concerns.”
It appears the suits were settled out of court.
It was time for Zimmerman to change trades. It is possible he became a representative for automotive products. First selling carburetors.
Zimmerman shifts from cards to cars?
Then he worked for the “foreign sales department of the Studebaker Corporation then he moved over to the Dodge Brothers automotive team where he was in charge of advertising.
He next stop was General Motors where he was put in charge of the company’s Australian division. And in early august, 1922, Zimmerman is off to Copenhagen where he as G.M.’s representative.
With his move to Denmark, Zimmerman’s role as a post card publisher was now a decade behind and would not be in his future.
Are Zimmerman the post card publisher and Zimmerman the world traveler for General Motors the same person?
And whatever happened to the American Post Card Association?
More work needs to be done.
Post card Checklist
Unless listed as color, all the post cards in the check list are black and white.
No # “Hotel and Depot, Imlay, Nev.” (color) ZB4.
A921A10 “Nixon Block, Goldfield, Nev.” ZB1 & ZB2.
A921B10 “House made of 10,000 Beer Bottles, Goldfield, Nev.” ZB1 & ZB2.
• The photograph for this post card was taken by W. I. Booth. Allen purchased Booth’s studio in late 1904.
This bottle house was in Tonopah, not Goldfield.
• This image was printed by Zimmerman with two different backs.
• Same error in the title; “Made of 10,000 Beer, Bottles, Goldfield, Nevada.”
A921C10 “House Made of Barrels, Goldfield, Nev.” ZB1 & ZB2.
• This barrel house was in Tonopah, not Goldfield.
• Same error in the title; “House Made of Barrels, Goldfield, Nevada.” Allen with the title “Made of 10,000 Beer Bottles, Goldfield, Nevada.”
A921D10 “Mohawk Mines, Goldfield, Nev.” ZB1 & ZB2.
• This view was first released by Edward H. Mitchell, with an undivided back in 1906, as post card number 808 titled, “MOHAWK MINES, GOLDFIELD, NEVADA.” A popular post card, Mitchell printed a version with a divided back.
• This view was released with two different ZIM backs.
A921E10 “General View of Goldfield, Nev.” ZB1.
• This view was also released by Edward H. Mitchell, as card number 807 titled “GENERAL VIEW OF GOLDFIELD, NEVADA”. The Mitchell card was released first with an undivided back, and later re-released with a divided back.
A921F10 “Labor Day, Goldfield, Nev.” ZB1.
A921G10 “Freighting by Team Before Advent of Railway, Goldfield,
Nevada.” ZB1. – Note, Nevada spelled out. Only one in this series no abbreviated.
A921H10 “Combination Mine and Mill, Goldfield, Nev.” ZB1.
A921I10 “Ore Dump, Combination Mine, Goldfield, Nev.” ZB1.
A921-I-10 “Ore Dump, Combination Mine, Goldfield, Nev.” ZB2.
• A second version of a ZIM back.
• Also the alphanumeric on this card has dashes. Likely to separate the letter “I” and the ones.
A921J10 “High Grade Ore for Deposit in Safety Vaults, Goldfield, Nev.” ZB1
-Hand stamped, in purple, “POLIN BROS., GOLDFIELD, NEVADA” is found on the back, left edge of some ZIM post cards with this title.
B155A1 “Harriman Avenue, Sparks, Nev.” (ZB1)
B601A1 “Pittsburg-Silver Peak Gold Mining Co.’s 100-Stamp Mill, Nev.” ZB4.
B1394A1 “Latest Extinct Volcano in America, Blair, Nev.” (color) ZB4.
-Note, all Ely post cards have a type ZB4 back.
B1669A7 “Train of Copper Ore, Ely, Nev.”
B1669B7 “Interior of Power House, Ely, Nev.”
B1669C7 “Squaw Race in Ely, Nev.”
B1669D7 “Veteran Shaft, Ely, Nev.” (color)
B1669E7 “Steam Shovel at Work, Ely, Nev.” (color)
B1669F7 “Alpha Shaft, Ely, Nev.” (color)
B1669G7 “Copper Flat, Ely, Nev.” (color)
B1693A2 “Depot, East Ely, Nev.” (color)
B1693B2 “Aultman Street, Nev.” (color)
B2377B2 “E Street, Hawthorne, Nev.” (color) ZB4.
Known Post Marks on ZIM Nevada post cards
While no 1907 post marks have been seen, it is believed that both the order and the shipment of the Nevada Zimmerman post cards took place in late 1907.
Goldfield February 20, 1908
Goldfield, April 12, 1908
May 8, 1908 handwritten
Goldfield, July 30, 1908
Goldfield September 15, 1908
Goldfield, November 9, 1908
Goldfield, December 25, 1908
Goldfield July 17, 1909
Goldfield August 3, 1909
Tonopah RPO Feb 27, 1910
Goldfield, August 31, 1910 type 2 back
Goldfield November 29, 1910
Sparks March 23, 1908
Sparks December 21, 1908
Reno & Goldfield RPO June 19, 1908
B1394 Blair, July 3, 1909
Ely, March 29, 1909
Shafter April 28, 1909
Ely, May 8, 1909
Ruth, May 10, 1909
Ruth, May 20, 1909
Kimberly May 22, 1909
Ruth, May 27, 1909
Shafter June 2, 1909
Hawthorne, Sept 1, 1909
East Ely, Dec. 10, 1909
East Ely, December 12, 1909
East Ely, December 14, 1909
East Ely, December 19, 1909
East Ely, December 25, 1910
Cobre & Ely March 18, 1911 RPO
Imlay, March 20, 1911
Ely, June 17, 1911
RPO Cobre & Ely, Mar 18, 1911
Imlay, March 20, 1911, Imlay October 25, 1912. Imlay December 12, 1912