To be included in this list a liner of the RSL must have been featured on an official RSL art postcard set. A number of the sets showed a generic liner of the Vaderland class. Many RSL photographic cards showed named liners as did some non-RSL cards.
- 1883-1912 Westernland
- 1884-1908 Noordland
- 1889-1911 Friesland
- 1895-1903 Kensington
- 1895-1903 Southwark
- 1900-1914 Vaderland II
- 1901-1914 & 1920-1927 Zeeland II
- 1902-1914 & 1919– 1923 Finland
- 1902-1914 & 1920-1923 Kroonland
- 1906-1914 (1919-1931 freight) Samland
- 1908-1914 & 1920-1932 Lapland
- 1908-1932 Lapland
- 1923-1935 Belgenland II
- 1926-1929 Arabic
- 1926-1935 Pennland II
- 1930-1935 Westernland II
- 1932-1933 Minnetonka (Tourist ship)
- 1932-1933 Minnewaska (Tourist ship)
The first two groups were painted by Henri Cassiers and the third group appear on cards painted by Charles Dixon.
This card is probably the first for the Red Star Line. It shows Westernland rigged for both sail and steam.
Built in 1883, the funnel colours of cream and black with a red star were changed in 1893 to a black funnel with a white band. Details of the 1894 Atlantic sailings, which were operated jointly with the American Line, are shown on the rear of the card.
The printers were Muhlmeister & Johler of Hamburg and Bremen. The artwork is unsigned and sets the standard of excellence which was to be maintained by the many cards painted by Henri Cassiers for the Red Star Line.
Dating Red Star Line postcards may be done directly using :-
- Postal cancellations
- Dated correspondence
- Postal rates and mail routes
- Postcard era
Where this information is not available, timelines may be used :-
- Dates between which the liner was in RSL service
- Funnel colours
- Minor route variations
- Passenger lists and timetables
(These four headings are well covered on the web at The Ships List. This site also provides many other useful links. It is advisable to cross check any such information from other sites on the web!)
By overlapping multiple timelines a reasonably accurate date may be arrived at. Cards were rarely issued prior to launch or maiden voyage date. This gives a definite earliest possible date. Usage would stay fairly constant until either the liner or the cards were replaced. It would then tail off, with some still being used when long out of date – rather like stamps!
To identify the year of issue will often be a major achievement, given the lack of detailed information which exists. Postcards are a valuable source of social and postal history which can provide rewarding areas for research.