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 sales.

Work, however, was not at the top of Fred’s mind that century-plus ago when he wrote these cards, but rather love and memories.

A white woman lies in a hammock reading a letter, as a white man carrying a tennis racket heads toward her. Message below: "Let me know what you were doing Sund P.M. Mar 22—Tell me exactly  + who you were with Wont you please Fred"
Fred Newton to Katheryn McMahon, 22 March 1908, card a, front

Although I don’t know the order in which he wrote these cards, I suspect this one came first. I’ll explain why in a little bit, but first let’s take a look at it. Here we have a black-and-white photograph postcard that’s been tinted in color and quite a nice job they’ve done of it too! Look at the lines on the hammock, the blue ribbons on her hat, and the racket abandoned next to the tree on the right and carefully distinguished color-wise from the trunk. The man is in shadow, but the woman is detailed enough that we can almost see writing on the letter.

Fred carefully marked the woman with a “K.” and he wrote something on the skirt of her dress: [something I can’t make out] Dress. Below he inscribed a slightly curious plea “Let me know what you were doing Sund P.M. Mar 22—Tell me exactly + who you were with Wont you please Fred.” It’s tempting to read a lot into inscriptions and choices of cards: sometimes we may find evidence we’re right–or wrong. In this case, the words on the front have a bit of a plaintive and/or suspicious air to me.

The reverse, however, contains a much more affirming message:

Dear: Received those two beautiful cards you sent to me + I want to thank you for the remembrance also the thoughts as you expressed them were oh so sweet Lovingly yours Fred

Fred Newton to Katheryn McMahon, 22 March 1908
Stamp. Postmark Seattle, Wash., 8.30 PM 22 March 1908. Addressed to Miss Katheryn McMahon 2621 Shields Ave. Chicago Ill. Message: “Seattle Wash Mar. 22 Dear: Received those two beautiful cards you sent to me + I want to thank you for the remembrance also the thoughts as you expressed them were oh so sweet Lovingly yours Fred”
Fred Newton to Katheryn McMahon, 22 March 1908, card a, reverse

Valuable information to have: Katheryn is sending Fred cards as well. The exchange is a two-way street rather than him feeding her postal card collection. These either didn’t survive or have been separated from the cards addressed to her, nevertheless they existed once upon a time.

On the sentimental side, whatever she wrote evidently struck a “sweet” chord.

Which leads us to the second card he sent that day.

White man and woman sitting in a hammock. Message inscribed below: “Dear Girl Oh! The memory of those days. Do you remember Fred”
Fred Newton to Katheryn McMahon, 22 March 1908, card b, front

These are part of a set or series of cards. Unlike those Fred sent on Katheryn’s birthday, these come from the same set. They were published by the Illustrated Post Card Company. The tinting or coloration is slightly different, the stripes on the hammock a darker greeb, but the details are the same. It’s quite possible that Fred wrote and sent a third card alongside these. They’re numbered in the bottom right, the previous card likely being the first in series 93 and this the third. If he did write another, it’s not among the cards in my possession.

As with the first, Fred marked up the image. In this case, he added clear initials to identify woman and man as Katheryn and himself. He added a brief line below invoking memories of when they were together at some previous point in time. This image in particular spoke to him, for his message on the reverse implies he might have cried.

“Dearie: Its Sunday afternoon and I’m in such a lonesome mood I can’t see for the mist between my eyes + the card. Guess this picture stired my memory pretty strong. God Bless you little girl I wonder what you are doing today With love Fred N.”

Fred Newton to Katheryn McMahon, 22 March 1908

These are sentiments he has no problem inscribing upon a postcard that might be read by anyone whose hands it passed through. She kept these, for the images or the inscriptions or both.

People who are number oriented may note that the lack of reference to card #7. I’ll share the images below, for those who are interested. This was sent to “Kitty” McMahon, no doubt one of Katheryn’s nicknames for the address is the same as many other cards directed to her. The sender isn’t quite clear: there’s a name scrawled across the front top, but it could be read a number of ways. It’s a British card–printed in Great Britain and postmarked Barmouth, 2 August 1907. At the moment, it’s a one-off. We’ll see if any later cards connect with it.

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