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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 each shows some type of street or avenue. When I finish this digression and proceed on to the next two cards, from Fred to Katheryn, you’ll note they also preserve street images. It’s true that these four cards appeared in the album in order–but they were spread over three pages (one at the bottom right, flip over then top and bottom and the top of the third page).

Order in albums is a complicated and highly contingent matter. In processing albums I am documenting which cards appeared on which page and in which order–for the most part. The thing is, there’s no way to know who put the cards in the order in which they’re found unless the most recent owner mentions that they were the one to do so (this is the case for at least three albums in my possession), and thereby affirms that the current order is not that of the original recipient and/or collector. Despite my general care in documenting order, I tend to take it with a grain of salt.

That said, one of the ways I can tell that an album is probably the work of a subsequent collector (and thus less likely to contain batches of cards sent to one person or family) is when the cards are arranged topically. Many guidelines and suggestions for postcard collectors over the 20th century recommend focusing on collecting one or more types of images.

Therefore, the alignment of these particular views is likely highly coincidental. Whoever put these cards in the album was clearly not following a chronological arrangement based on receipt (or if they were, someone later messed it up). There are enough cards missing (see earlier post discussing how sellers sometimes remove “choice” cards for sentimental or collectibility motives) that I suspect the current order dates at least two owners back–but more than that I can’t say.

And now back to our progression through the cards.

Up next we have a nice RPPC from Fred while in Colorado Springs. The printed matter along the bottom suggests this is the work of a local photographer who realized he could make money selling local images. This happened a lot of places, but not every photographer included their name on their work. A quick internet search resulted in likely identification of the photographer as Fred Payne Clatworthy who was known for his images of Estes Park. It’s not so very far from Estes Park to Colorado Springs nowadays and easy to imagine he spent enough time in the latter to produce and sell images.

This is, of course, only one of the many things Fred sent Katheryn on/around Valentine’s Day 1908 (see earlier posts). While he incorporates general sentiments (wishing she were with him), the message is as much as anything a love letter about Colorado Springs.

This view gives you an idea of what a beautiful little “Burg” Colo. Springs is. It is one of the most aristocratic little resorts in all of Colorado. This picture is excellent as it is what you can see any bright sunshiny day + so far, I have not seen anything else. Oh how I wish you were with me to enjoy it all. I leave in 10 minutes for Pueblo

Fred Newton to Katheryn McMahon, 14 February 1908

The last card for today offers much for analysis in at least three different veins.

For one, the inscription repeated Fred’s ongoing concern about how regularly she is (or isn’t) writing back to him. This time, he connected it to her health. He heard she’d had a cold and was concerned that she hasn’t written because due to illness. There may be other things at issue, but I’m trying not to read presentist issues into the past (I don’t know about other folks, but I admit my eyebrows rose slightly at the “take good care of yourself if for no other reason” than for Fred’s sake). Although the telephone exists, it’s not something used very often particularly for long distance calls. Neither of them might have access to telephones, and therefore regular written communication served as the primary way to remain in touch despite distances.

Dearie:- I have a little surprise in store for you that I will disclose when I write my next. I have not recd. your letter that was expected at least two to three days ago + I want you to tell me cause of delay even if it is only a few lines on a postal. I hear weather in Chi. is still pretty cold + am anxious about that cold you had are you better dearie Please take good care of yourself if for no other reason than I should feel pretty bad to hear that you were in any danger of being sick. Write + tell me everything. I am getting several letters that would interest you, if you knew the contents. Write soon with love

Fred Newton to Katheryn McMahon, 10 April 1908

In addition to the lengthy message, Fred inscribed a short note on the front. He used the opportunity of the image to offer it as an incentive for Katheryn’s eventually joining him in Seattle (see, it’s so pretty!)

Yet what I find of equal or more interest are the two notes inscribed on the front: “left Seattl[?] 21” (or possibly 27) and “25 April”. The postcard was postmarked on the 11th. Do the notes reflect a delay of some sort in sending it to Chicago? They appear to be written by the same person, or in similar handwriting at least, which suggests the writer wasn’t Katheryn noting late receipt of the card. It might be interesting to investigate possible mail stoppages around that time.

But most such research is for another day. I’ve still got well over half of the cards in this particular album to go (and that’s not touching all the other albums still waiting similar processing, if not necessarily blogging here).

“One of the most aristocratic little resorts,” copyright 2021, A.R. Henle.

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