What is the meaning of "Visé Paris" on WW1 postcards?

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What is the meaning of "Visé Paris" on WW1 postcards?

Post by wbremner »

Hoping someone out there might have some clues to help us find an answer to this one...

"Visé Paris" (sometimes Vise Paris or Visa Paris) frequently appeared on postcards printed in France during WW1, often on the reverse. Usually - but not always - it was immediately followed by a number, or referred to a number on the front of the postcard, and was preceded by some information about the editor, publisher or printer.

For example: Imp. P. Gaultier, Boulogne-s-Mer. – Ed. P. G. Visé Paris 800 was printed on the reverse of Fergus Mackain's "Out on Rest" set of the "Sketches of Tommy's Life" postcards by Gaultier, whereas Visé Paris 800 appears by itself on the front of the same set of Mackain cards by Savigny.

It has been suggested elsewhere that "Visé" was the name of a publishing house or printer in Paris, but the weight of evidence is that it is more likely some sort of official stamp of approval by the military authorities. Vise can mean "stamp" or "authorization" depending on the context (as in a travel visa) and Gaultier was a printer based in Boulogne while Savigny was in Paris.

The numbering following "Visé Paris" appears to be chronological - Mackain's card sets are numbered 713, 763, and 800, and were "authorized" late in 1917. Other non-Mackain cards with lower numbers appeared in 1914 and the numbers rise in line with time.

Was there a central "approval process" during WW1 for cards to be reviewed by the military authorities in Paris prior to publishing? If so, did they assign a unique number to each card (or set of cards) in ascending order? And what were they reviewing for content ... military secrets? Whereabouts of troops? Seditious content? Or does "Visé Paris" mean something else entirely?

If anyone has any thoughts on this, or evidence to support this or a better theory, please share!



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Re: What is the meaning of "Visé Paris" on WW1 postcards?

Post by deanosaur1972 »

I always assumed (but don't know?):

That Visé Paris meant that the card had been referred (Visé = referred) via a central department in Paris for approval for the image to be published. The number would be the publishers chosen number of the card to be referred and subsequently approved. The image would have needed approval to ensure it did not give away defensive positions.

So no evidence for you I am afraid, just another theory :)

Would be interesting to know for sure.

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