Presentation/Appearance

Includes sub-categories relating to postcard type and visual appearance or quirks.

  • Business,  Katheryn McMahon Newton Album,  Logistics,  Presentation/Appearance,  Travel,  Weather

    Calling on the Drug Trade Book + Department Stores

    Katheryn McMahon Newton album, cards 57-59 In which we get more information about what Fred Newton does for a living! As supposed, he’s a salesman. What he sells may vary. He could work for more than one company at any given time, for all we know. However, thanks to the first card shown here we know what he sold, where, and for whom on at least one instance. The Mr. Sears Fred referred to in other cards is evidently “L. Sears Paper Co.” They produce tablets and stationery, which Fred is selling around Washington–this particular day he went to Ballard and called on a variety of stores. It’s not an…

  • Collecting,  General Info,  Health,  Katheryn McMahon Newton Album,  Logistics,  Real Photo Post Cards

    One of the most aristocratic little resorts

    Katheryn McMahon Newton album, cards 50-53 First up, two more cards from Europe. I’m only sharing the fronts here. Based on the handwriting on the back, I’m guessing these also came from Billy (who’s so far been responsible for most/all of the foreign cards–and no I still don’t know his last name). As is quite typical of Billy, there’s no message. That said, these differ from several of the most recent cards in that, as with a few earlier ones, they’re directed to “Miss McMahon” at Shields Ave rather than State St, and thus were likely intended for Katheryn rather than Anna. With respect to the images themselves, note that…

  • General Info,  Katheryn McMahon Newton Album,  Logistics,  Puzzles,  Social

    “Make short work of the “tall + uncut””

    Katheryn McMahon Newton album, cards 40-43 I originally intended to focus on one card at a time. That didn’t last long! It proved much easier to spend extensive time on the initial cards I presented, both because I was starting to figure out what to do with this blog and because each was selected for one or more iconic qualities which rewarded in-depth examination. With this album, the attractions for me include seeing how the cards fit together–how Fred (and others, especially when we move on to add other albums) uses the cards. What information he includes, where he’s open versus coy and allusive. TLDR: I’ll share however many cards…

  • General Info,  Katheryn McMahon Newton Album,  Real Photo Post Cards,  Social,  Travel,  Vitals,  Weather

    Old Haunts and Burros Revisited

    Katheryn McMahon Newton album, cards 35-39 On the 26th of February 1908, Fred sent Katheryn another card where the image was the inspiration for the communication. In this case, he even specified where he got the card: in a drug store in Portland, Oregon. Drug stores were a mainstay of the postcard market–and this particular card presented a local view, and was one of the United States images produced by the publisher, W.G. MacFarlane. Once again, Fred inscribed suggestive initials on the image, but in this case he did so not to invite Katheryn to imagine herself in Portland so much as to encourage her to think back to a…

  • Collecting,  Katheryn McMahon Newton Album,  Presentation/Appearance,  Social,  Travel

    Berlin, a Terrace, and Mental Telegraphy

    Katheryn McMahon Newton Album, cards 27-29 First a card not from Fred but with a message. One “Billy” (last name unknown) is in Berlin (Germany) and moved to send a postcard to Katheryn–whom he (or she) addresses as “Kitty”–and ask forgiveness for not writing before. This dates to 1907, i.e. before most of the cards from Fred. Without more information about the individual, there’s fairly little to say as regards sender. Or is there? This does provide an inscription to compare with Fred’s. First off, it’s shorter–or rather, Fred’s are longer. I’ve acquired enough postcards, and particularly enough batches of postcards sent by one person, to say that Fred is…

  • Business,  Collecting,  Katheryn McMahon Newton Album,  Real Photo Post Cards,  Social,  Travel

    Very Fond of Children and the Pacific Coast Limited

    Katheryn McMahon Newton Album, cards 20-22, 24 Today’s is a bit of a miscellany. First is a travel postcard produced by the Metropolitan News Co., a northeastern firm responsible for a number of regional-oriented images. This particular card has no inscription whatsoever. The sender evidently presumed Anna McMahon would understand from whom it came–likely the only person she knew in Boston at the time. As a side point, according to Google Maps 1800 State Street is about midway between the two addresses we have for Katheryn McMahon. 2621 South Shields Avenue (Google is not currently offering me an option for North Shields) is about 1.5 miles walk south-southwest. 315 Wabash…

  • Business,  Collecting,  Katheryn McMahon Newton Album,  Real Photo Post Cards,  Social

    Altered Images, Love Letters, and Guilt Trips

    Katheryn McMahon Album, cards 16-19 If a picture is worth a thousand words, what is the worth of a picture with words added? This post has two examples of a benefit some people found in sending postcards versus letters: the opportunity to interact with the image on the front. A classic method is for a sender to inscribe initials or names on people portrayed on the front of the card–even or especially when the images were mass produced and patently not the sender, addressee, or anyone they knew. Fred did this himself, as shown in the post on 11 January, when he added Katheryn’s and his initials to a man…

  • Katheryn McMahon Newton Album,  Real Photo Post Cards,  Weather

    My Little Pal Out Here (a Lonely Heart in Colorado Springs)

    Katheryn McMahon Newton Album, cards 13-15 Fred wrote and sent this postcard only a day or so before he sent Katheryn the album to store her postcards in. Or did he in fact write this on the 12th of February and the inscription in the album on the 14th? Dates are funny things, after all, and subject to flux. The dates Fred inscribes might represent the days he’s actually sitting down or the days he wants associated with whatever he’s writing. These are usually the same thing, or close enough to make no difference–and barring evidence otherwise I’m willing to take his dates as good. Particularly because most of the…

  • General Info,  Puzzles

    A Musical Mystery? Crack an old Postcard Code

    Shorthand and use of non-English languages reduced the number of people who might read a given post card. Nevertheless, senders still ran the risk of postal workers and others (family members, friends, neighbors) being able to read the cards. Perhaps more the case with non-English languages sent from or delivered to ethnic and/or diverse neighborhoods, but more people may have been able to read shorthand then than now. And then there are codes. It will likely come as no surprise that some people used codes to communicate through postcards. With codes, the recipient had to have the key to decipher the message–but codes likely defeated casual readers. As a matter…

  • Collecting,  General Info,  Puzzles

    Keeping Secrets? Messages in Shorthand on Postcards

    Last post introduced Clara Stahl and Agnes Naylor, two stenographers in Grinnell, Iowa, in the early twentieth century. Both collected postcards, and agreed to exchange cards (i.e. send them to each other) to help increase their respective collections. We know this thanks to a typewritten card Clara sent to Agnes. Typewritten cards offered highly legible messages for recipients to read. (Typewritten messages are also much appreciated by many historians.) Clara clearly didn’t mind anyone and everyone reading that message. Nor did she likely worry about messages she composed in handwritten English. After all, the very nature of postcards meant anyone who got their hands on one–such as a postal worker…

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