Collecting,  Katheryn McMahon Newton Album,  Leather Post Cards,  Social

The customary expression appropriate in a case of this kind

Katheryn McMahon Newton album, cards 126-129

For today, four cards from the album that are not images of places (or flowers). Whoever went through the album plucking out cards likely left them behind as of little value. In terms of inscriptions, three of the four have something on them with two speaking to Fred and Katheryn’s relationship.

This one, for instance, dates from when Fred was courting Katheryn. The postmark is hard to read, but places this on/around the 25th of July, 1907. He addressed her as Kittie, as this came before the shift to Katheryn.

He added lines to the front of the card, affirming the printed warning to avoid going to slow lest one be beat out by another. The attribution to “Dr. Bill” may have been a private joke, as Fred also included his initials. She’s evidently visiting in Michigan on a trip–and based on the reverse Fred is complaining that he’s been sending her postcards and not receiving any (something he keeps noting later in their relationship as well).

Once upon a time a fellow bought one or more postal cards for a certain girl but he receiveth any of them not. Waiting when your writing

Fred Newton to Katheryn McMahon, 25 July 1907

Remember that the mail offered multiple deliveries per day, at least in cities, and could be fairly speedy. Caloma is about 100 miles away from Chicago, up around on the eastern side of Lake Michigan. It is possible that this card reached Katheryn within a day. She sent a postcard to Fred either at the same time as he was dropping that card into the mail or immediately upon receiving it–because Fred sent her another postcard postmarked on the 26th affirming receipt.

Interestingly, the second postcard also was addressed to a different hotel. The message on this one contains a jocular note, similar to the other, but also is a bit abstruse.

Friend Kit Postal Received Thanks – Have written U.S. Ex. Agent at Coloma regarding books + other package I expected to receive the customary expression appropriate in a case of this kind but I can over look lots again thank you I remain yours

Fred Newton to Katheryn McMahon, 26 July 1907

My guess is that Katheryn was the agent Fred referred to and he was joking while encouraging her to send more communiques (and assuring her he accepted his lot in having to wait).

The remaining two postcards both went to Miss McMahon, likely Anna, at 1800 State Street.

They’re leather. I hadn’t realized such things existed until I happened across them in another album. I also have a wooden postcard. Back then, all mail was sorted by hands. Nowadays, if anyone did want to send such a card it would probably have to be processed by hand still rather than risk getting caught in a mechanical sorter.

I can only speak for the leather postcards I’ve seen and handled (although by this time I have around 10–one of my earliest album acquisitions contained 4!) — but they’re much more varied in size than paper cards. The leather color and quality understandably varies (based on the source) as does the thickness. These are clearly stamped / branded with hot metal and hence mass-produced. At least one of the others in my possession is far more crude with the possibility of being a one-off. H.G. Zinn even included a copyright notice in his brand–plus an additional color.

Whoever sent the Zinn one to Miss McMahon added a brief message. This is unusual for the leather postcards I have, most of which only feature the recipient’s name and address.

“The customary expression appropriate in a case of this kind,” copyright 2021, A.R. Henle.

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