General Info,  Presentation/Appearance

Graduation, Valentines, Photos, and Ephemera

This is a hold-over post. I will return to sharing cards as I work through albums. But life is requiring attention elsewhere, so here’s a little something else (postcard-related I promise you!) first.

People put more than postcards in postcard albums. Sometimes the inclusions are sufficiently random that one can’t do more than guess at the why (such as leaves, perhaps to flatten them or as souvenirs of places?).

Other times, the materials are more numerous and/or speak to aspects of a person’s life and times. Or, perhaps, how they viewed the album.

Consider this album,

Postcard album with a spray of flowers across the front

Someone pasted various gift labels and other items in–quite as though it were a scrapbook. There are a lot of commonalities between the two, after all, both meant for gathering pieces to make a larger whole.

gift cards, stamps, images cut from cards, pasted on the inside cover of a postcard album
Pasted ephemera

Then there’s an album that belonged to Melvey Smith of Indiana has a lot more than postcards in it. Here’s inside the front cover, showing it was given as a Christmas gift.

Christmas label identifying Melvey Smith as the recipient in 1912; part of a Farmers Serum Company card and a small valentine lying loose with postcards
Melvey Smith album, front page

And here’s a point later in the album. It’s one that I haven’t yet gone through in detail because it warrants attention to the various ephemera as well as the cards. Most of the ephemera are birthday cards and valentines directed to Melvey or Oris Smith.

People also put photos in their albums. Most often (in those I’ve seen or collected) the photos take the form of RPPC of people, rarely identified. In one album, I actually have a photo of the person to whom it belonged but that’s quite unusual. Another album I obtained from a descendant of the person who’d received the postcards, and she kindly provided an image and some background about them.

Then there’s this one. A handsome album, eh? You can’t explore the physicality of it by website, but it’s very solidly made and still in quite respectable condition.

Album cover with gilt letters "Souvenir Cards"
Charles Imlay album, cover

I don’t have any external information about it. I haven’t processed it yet–but I have glanced over it. The person who received and collected these was Charles Imlay of DC who went to Harvard (and/or Harvard Law) circa 1904-1905. And the last page contains a number of postcards pasted in.

8 photos, 7 with different combinations of people and one with a lot of chairs outside in front of a several-story tall building
Photos in Charles Imlay album

I don’t know who the people are. One of the young men is probably Imlay. Extensive study (and/or locating other info about him, after all he was well-off if he attended Harvard!) may help identify some. What caught my eye in particular, however, is the photo of chairs with a building in the background. I walked around the Harvard campus once or twice many years ago, and this strikes me as the kind of building that might have been around then as a dormitory. Perhaps the image is associated with preparations for graduation? What do you think?

“Graduation, Valentines, Photos, and Ephemera,” copyright Alea Henle, 2021.

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