Some Vintage Safari Postcards Circa 1910


On our travels we are always on the look out for any interesting ephemera, photos and journals that may have a link to either the history of Westley Richards or the sport of hunting itself.

Last week in the US we picked up several vintage postcards that certainly make for fascinating viewing.  Published in 1910 they depict various hunting scenes from the epic safari of Theodore Roosevelt’s which was conducted from 1909-10.  At the time this was the largest safari ever conducted in Africa and involved some of the greatest hunters of the day including F.C.Selous and R.J.Cunninghame.


Over 500 animals and birds were collected by the former US President and his son Kermit, all of which were carefully skinned, prepared and shipped to the Smithsonian Museum in Washington.  This huge safari set the standard for the luxury safaris that were to follow and clearly put East Africa on the map for the dedicated US hunter.

Today Africa remains a magical safari destination where sportsmen from around the world can still participate in one of the last great adventures.  Whether or not you would be able to send postcards such as these today is another matter altogether!



10 thoughts on “Some Vintage Safari Postcards Circa 1910

  1. Good to see Westley Richards ephemera collection expanding, I seem to think Simon had a weakness for such things.
    Any gun room would look quite naked without accessories and ephemeral items.

    No I don’t think such postcards would arrive at their destination these days, but it could be worth a try!

    In the second and fourth postcards the prominent rifle shown, forgive my ignorance, is it a ‘Savage’ dangerous game calibre rifle? Some time ago I came across a photo album from around the same period in Africa and a couple of the images depicted fallen dangerous game and the hunter proudly standing there also with the same type of rifle, if it’s possible please put me right about the brand name of these rifles.

    Keep on with your enthusiasm.

    • Dear Peter

      Simon did indeed have a weakness for such things and we would compete to see who could find the nicest thing. It was like a game of ‘top trumps’. I remember when I came in with a fabulous photo album that he was envious of. He would never admit to it and then a couple of weeks later he came up with two cartridge magazines that had belonged to Colonel Richard Meinertzhagen! Trumped!!!

      Anyway, turning to the lever action rifle, Theodore Roosevelt was a big fan of the Winchester 1895 model and took one in .405 calibre to Africa for lion hunting. This I suspect is the model of rifle depicted.

      All the very best


      • Dear Trigger

        Thank you for your reply.

        You have had the greatest of pleasures to have, from what I read on ‘The Explora’, the benefit of working and competing with Simon, I can ‘only imagine’ what fun two like minded people such as yourselves would be capable of.
        I do remember Simon posting on the blog photos of a safari that you had found on an auction website and I got the distinct impression then that he was so jealous, you have just confirmed my suspicions!

        I met the “man” once, I immediately felt at ease with him, we were discussing what seemed to me to be trivial items that I had brought along, but he was so enthused and pleasured by them I now wish I had donated them to his treasured collection.

        Thank you also for putting me right on the brand of rifle used, such a distinctive shape the Winchester has.

        Kind Regards. Peter.

      • Yes, this is indeed a Winchester 1895. As TR said, “personally, I prefer the Winchester.” He had a great affinity for this series of rifles and is known to have carried a short version in 30-40 Krag to Cuba as well as the 405 likely depicted here. His 405 version is famously shown in a well-known photo of TR with a great looking rhino. In addition, TR also hunted with a double rifle in 450 that was built by a Germanic maker (the name is not quickly coming to mind) that was embellished with the presidential seal.

        • Hi Larry

          The boys at Holland & Holland will hang you! TR hunted with a very nice Holland & Holland .500/.450 ‘Royal’ sidelock that was presented to him by a host of dignitaries and hunters. He shot a lot of his big stuff with this rifle. A lot of other game fell to his Winchester.

          Best regards


          • Honestly, one could easily confuse them!

            But the Germanic rifle to which I referred is currently on display at the NRA museum! I think the Holland is held in another collection.

  2. Larry and Trigger,

    Look on page 28 of African Game Trails. TR states “My rifles were an army Springfield, 30-caliber, stocked and sighted to suit myself; a Winchester 405; and a double- barrelled 500-450 Holland, a beautiful weapon presented to me by some English friends.” Kermit carried substituted the Springfield for another Winchester and had a double-barrel Rigby.

    If TR carried a Germanic rifle to Africa, I didn’t find it mentioned.


  3. The “Germanic” rifle mentioned was one stocked by Fred Adolph of Genoa, NY, and engraved by Rudolph J. Kornbrath. This rifle, a scalloped snap action was made after the famous 1909 safari to East Africa. Adolph was a German trained, immigrant to the US. He made a variety of guns, combination guns and rifles on imported actions as well as a stocker of the US 1903 Springfield which are highly collectible. He was one of the true early pioneers in custom guns in the US.

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