Katheryn McMahon Newton Album,  Real Photo Post Cards,  Weather

My Little Pal Out Here (a Lonely Heart in Colorado Springs)

Katheryn McMahon Newton Album, cards 13-15

Fred wrote and sent this postcard only a day or so before he sent Katheryn the album to store her postcards in. Or did he in fact write this on the 12th of February and the inscription in the album on the 14th?

Two white men and two white women on burros or donkeys. Printed text "#1133 Cheyenne Canon 1908" Manuscript addition “Wed Eve Feb. 12th 08 As position counts for a plenty what do you think of this pose?"
Fred Newton to Katheryn McMahon, 12 February 1908, front

Dates are funny things, after all, and subject to flux. The dates Fred inscribes might represent the days he’s actually sitting down or the days he wants associated with whatever he’s writing. These are usually the same thing, or close enough to make no difference–and barring evidence otherwise I’m willing to take his dates as good. Particularly because most of the postcard dates align with postmarks for the same day or a day later. While it’s possible that any given postmaster or clerk forgot to change the date on their stamp, odds are their dates reflect when cards were stamped.

The album doesn’t have a postmark. The wrappings in which it was sent have long since perished. The gift card survives, and bears the same date. Yet Fred might have pre-dated album inscription and gift card so as to associate them with the occasion of the gift, i.e. Valentine’s Day. Thus the package carrying album might have gone into the mail earlier than the card shared here.

At any rate, Fred made no mention of the album on this card, sent close in time to Valentine’s Day. The image on the card is a real photo–but one of a series (given the #1133) and likely sold locally. Based on the date, 1908, it was produced within a matter of weeks of when Fred mailed it. I’m not quite clear what Fred meant by his query about it: “As position counts for a plenty what do you think of this pose?” but perhaps he wondered if Katheryn would be interested in such a ride someday.

Stamp. Postmark Colorado Springs, Colorado, 13 February 1908. Addressee Miss Katheryn McMahon #2621 Shields Ave Chicago Ill. Message: “Dear Girlie: When I think of the contrast between the cold cloudy weather, with the snow + ice in Chicago + the warm clear skies + fine sunshiny weather we are having here I more than feel if only you too could be my little “pal” out here what a good time we could have With Love Fred”
Fred Newton to Katheryn McMahon, 12 February 1908, reverse

And here, on the reverse, we have discussion of weather, one of the topics traditionally associated with postcards:

Dear Girlie: When I think of the contrast between the cold cloudy weather, with the snow + ice in Chicago + the warm clear skies + fine sunshiny weather we are having here I more than feel if only you too could be my little “pal” out here what a good time we could have With Love Fred

Fred Newton to Katheryn McMahon, 12 February 1908

As it happens, Colorado Springs does get snow and ice–bits of unmelted snow are visible on the reverse near the rightmost rider. Having lived in Colorado (albeit not in Colorado Springs, rather a little further up I-5) and the Midwest (not in Chicago, but in Madison, Wisconsin to the west and near Cleveland, Ohio, to the east), I agree that Colorado has a lot of “warm clear skies + fine sunshiny weather.” The main point of the card is not so much the weather, I would argue, as his wish that she were with him. Maybe he was feeling the approach of Valentine’s Day in that respect.

The next card is more of a mystery. We don’t know who sent it or why. It’s one of the cards sent to other Miss McMahons, in this case Anna.

The initials in the bottom left of the card — P.S. — may belong to the artist who drew the image, evidently in Chicago in 1904. The postmark of Racine means the card was sent from relatively nearby, Racine being just up the lake from Chicago. As for much of the rest your guess is as good as mine.

Last but not least for the day, we have another travel related card. I’m not quite sure what to make of this image. Given it was produced in Dublin and includes references to “Biddy” and the stereotypically Irish use of “me own” and reference to many children, I’m guessing it was an anti-poor Catholic Irish card making a social and political statement. So how did it wind up sent to Katheryn?

The sender, “Dick,” was traveling by ship from New York eastward. Where? He offered no clue, nor any reference to which ship or line. He’d either already shared the information or didn’t consider it important. It’s quite possible the ship on which he sailed had come westward with a stop in Dublin, at which point they took on postcards including the one Dick sent Katheryn–but we’ll never know. The postmark is New York, but it’s quite possible the card was written in time to hand down to a smaller boat guiding the ship out of the New York Harbor or the ship stopped at one of the nearby islands before heading out to sea.

Yet this does expand what we know of Katheryn’s circle. While I still lack sufficient information to identify her in the census, she had connections with at least one person in a position (and with motivation) to sail east. A man other than Fred, and one comfortable referring to her as “Kittie.” Maybe a friend, maybe a prior romantic connection (or would-be), since this card dates to the year before most of Fred’s cards (so far). The plot thickens? We’ve still well over 100 cards to go . . .

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