• 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…

  • Collecting,  Katheryn McMahon Newton Album,  Social,  Travel

    Where the Birds are Better Than Alarm Clocks

    Katheryn McMahon Newton Album, cards 10-12 The next card in line lacks any inscription whatsoever. Whichever postal station marked the card managed to add wavy lines canceling the stamp without including anything to indicate when or where it was posted. The where probably Portland, Oregon, given that the front bears glittery letters offering “Greetings” from there As for the rest? My guess: Fred Newton at some point in 1907. Fred, because it’s his handwriting (or a very close approximation) and he passed through Portland at various points. 1907 given the address specified for Katheryn McMahon: the Atlas [School] Supply Co. on Wabash Ave in Chicago. A cursory review of the…

  • Collecting,  Katheryn McMahon Newton Album,  Social

    Tennis, Hammocks, and Young Love

    Katheryn McMahon Newton Album, cards 8 & 9 These cards offer a second instance (so far) where Fred Newton sent Katheryn more than one postcard on the same day. These are dated to 22 March 1908, by which time he reached Seattle. Combined with the previous cards’ postmarks and the date and location inscribed in the album, he’s traveled quite a bit in three months’ time. Chicago, Colorado Springs, Portland (OR), and Seattle. Plus, I peeked ahead and he was also in Salt Lake City long enough to send at least one card in February. I haven’t figured out what he did just yet, but I’m guessing some kind of…

  • Collecting,  Health,  Holidays & Birthdays,  Katheryn McMahon Newton Album,  Logistics,  Social

    Well? Happy Birthday, New Year, and A Swell Postal Album

    Katheryn McMahon Newton Album, post 3, cards 4-6 In my last post, I indicated Fred sent Katheryn two postcards on her birthday in 1908 (along with a letter and box). Correction: he sent at least three. Someone tucked the third into the album a little further along (#6). Under normal circumstances, I’d have processed the whole album before posting anything here and thus I’d have presented all three together, probably as part of a chronological arrangement. You’re getting the “in the weeds” version instead, where I post as I go along. History in the writing! (Or at least in the research.) Let’s jump to the third birthday postcard, aka card…

  • Health,  Holidays & Birthdays,  Katheryn McMahon Newton Album,  Miscellaneous,  Social

    Birthdays, Happy Faculties, and Dental Fillings

    Katheryn McMahon Newton album, post 2, cards 2 & 3 I selected a birth announcement postcard to open this blog. Coincidentally, the first two postcards in this album are for Katheryn’s birthday. Which one? Unknown, as of yet, but we do know the day: 15 January. So I’m posting this blog entry a little less than two weeks before the date. Both cards are from Fred Newton, who dated and posted them on the 15th of 1908 in full expectation that they would arrive that same day. This was quite possible in the early 20th century, when the mail was sometimes delivered several times a day in cities. Perhaps not…

  • Real Photo Post Cards,  Vitals

    Real Photo of Man in Fallen Tree, Per Promise

    Real Photo Postcards (RPPC) are pains and joys in collecting early postcards, at least from my perspective. On the good side: they show “real” people and scenes as their name indicates. Many are posed (hence the use of quotes above) but they’re also often intended to be shared between families, friends, and acquaintances, particularly RPPC of people. Those may represent intricate networks of connections. Frustratingly, such cards also frequently lack sufficient information to tease out the networks. My collection contains more RPPC than I like with nothing written on the front or back. Whomever gathered the cards and placed them in albums knew the subject and/or meaning and didn’t need…

  • Collecting,  Miscellaneous,  Real Photo Post Cards,  Vitals

    Remembered Love: Death and Real Photo Post Cards (RPPC)

    First post – birth; second post – marriage (proposal); so, yes, this third post is about death. More specifically, it’s about sharing news of death. Yet in sending this card, Angus M. Baker memorialized his late wife Rosa E. Merly/Merley/Mesley Baker–and tells us quite a bit about life, death, and postcards. Let’s start with the card itself. Angus Baker provided his wife’s vital dates: birth, marriage, and death. Rosa married at age 28 and died seven years later. He doesn’t tell us what she died of, merely that it was “[a]fter a short illness.” This information survives by way of a Real Photo Post Card (RPPC) which presumably shows Rosa…

  • Collecting,  Digitization & Indexing,  Vitals

    “How would mine suit you?”: Proposing Marriage by Postcard

    Since the first post centered around a birth announcement, today we’re moving on to another key life event for many (not all) people: marriage. As with the birth announcement, this is a semi-random card. I admit that I picked it up largely for the text–but I have no other cards sent to or from the recipient and sender. It’s a lonely-only. By lonely-only, however, I mean strictly in terms of sender/recipient/inscription. The card itself was mass-produced, after all. I have at least one other instance of this same card sent by someone else to someone else. I might even have two. I remember many of my cards, but not all–I’ve…

  • Collecting,  General Info,  Vitals

    It’s a bouncing baby . . . blog!

    Welcome to a new blog organized around one of my research interests: early 20th century postcards, particularly those exchanged among people in the United States. I credit (blame) a coworker for my getting hooked on these. Thus far my research suggests most (not all) scholarship on postcards has focused on the images and makers. Many people collect postcards for these–gathering cards related to particular places, manufacturers, themes. I, on the other hand, am as or more interested in the reverse sides of postcards. A little over a year ago, I started collecting postcards that were directed to the same individual or family. Some discussions of postcards diss the inscriptions, lumping…

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