Katheryn McMahon Newton Album,  Social

Convincing proof for the most skeptical

Katheryn McMahon Newton album, cards 120-122

There’s lots to analyze on this first card for today!

15th Avenue North and East Mercer Street, Seattle, Wash. See post for inscription.
Fred Newton to Katheryn McMahon, 11 March 1908

This card includes two of the ways senders might interact with images. For one, Fred invoked the image in his inscription.

Dearie:– The residence section of Seattle is very fin as this street + scene shows it to be but as told you before little Portland – the city of roses as it is called “for mine” This kind of street is flushed + washed with a big fire hose every night. How do I know about what is going on at night well I read about it maybe

Fred Newton to Katheryn McMahon, 11 March 1908

The jump to Portland confuses me, but maybe things will become clearer in the chronological analysis. Fred’s discussion of how the streets are washed nightly is interesting. Not something I’d heard about before (and very wasteful of water, not that they’d likely consider that then unless in a drought) and if I decide to include this card in any article I’ll likely research that point to verify! Fred implied he might have read about the washing in a newspaper or some other place, but the wording is sufficiently ambiguous to suggest it was something he watched on some occasion. Or not.

Then there’s the second way Fred interacted with the image — the lines he added connected to the automobile parked on the street. A Buick, evidently (I’m not sufficiently into old cards to recognize makes myself), and one which brought to mind a memory that he also wanted to trigger in Katheryn’s mind. Given his mention “Maybe sometime you once sat beside me in a Buick well” we can speculate on at least one of their dates while courting!

Second and Pike Streets, Seattle Wash.
Fred Newton to Katheryn McMahon, 25 May 1908

The image is innocuous enough. Men and women passing on a Sattle street with streetcars, automobiles, and horse-drawn wagons. It’s the inscription that gets one thinking.

Dearest: Three postal cards in one day from the same gentleman is convincing proof for the most skeptical that he is crazy about you. Honey you see what a mood I am in today about you dont you dear I’ve been thinking of nothing but you, you, all day long I just wonder if you had an occasional thought of me today. As soon as I saw this view of 2nd Ave looking north from Pike St. it was such an excellent likeness that I wanted you to see it

Fred Newton to Katheryn McMahon, 25 May 1908

There’s a bit more, some of which I can’t read plus a mention that he was on the battle ships (likely the Great White Fleet, which he was able to tour one of per an earlier card) that day and would write more after supper.

But the card certain started off with quite an exhortation! Given the extent to which the middle part touches on a theme present in many of Fred’s cards–missing her and wondering if she’s thinking of him, wishing she’d send more cards, and so on–it likely is simply an expanded version of his usual sentiments. Yet the first line does get one thinking about about whether she’s expressed any concerns or reservations in her half of the correspondence, which of course is missing (and unlikely to ever show up).

Again, it will be interesting to consider this in conjunction with the others from a chronological perspective–especially since at various points he commented on the quantity of her correspondence versus his.

This last card is blank. I’m including it for your viewing pleasure as a Chicago card that Katheryn may have chosen to keep as a memento of her home city–and perhaps of a place she dined. Note this shows the “Ladies’ Dining Room”–one wonders how many mens’ dining rooms the Kuntz-Remmler Co. had and how they were fitted out in comparison.

“Convincing proof for the most skeptical,” copyright 2021, A.R. Henle.

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