• Collecting,  General Info,  Puzzles

    Keeping Secrets? Messages in Shorthand on Postcards

    Last post introduced Clara Stahl and Agnes Naylor, two stenographers in Grinnell, Iowa, in the early twentieth century. Both collected postcards, and agreed to exchange cards (i.e. send them to each other) to help increase their respective collections. We know this thanks to a typewritten card Clara sent to Agnes. Typewritten cards offered highly legible messages for recipients to read. (Typewritten messages are also much appreciated by many historians.) Clara clearly didn’t mind anyone and everyone reading that message. Nor did she likely worry about messages she composed in handwritten English. After all, the very nature of postcards meant anyone who got their hands on one–such as a postal worker…

  • Collecting,  General Info

    Typewritten Irregularities: Filling a Postcard in Type

    If you sat down to write a postcard and send it, how would you fill the space. With a pencil? Ink pen? Marker? Crayon? How about typing? True, in the modern world we can design postcards and have them printed, but this wasn’t an option at the turn of the twentieth century. The vast majority of postcards that I’ve seen have handwritten messages, in pencil or ink, sometimes crayon. (As an aside, my personal preference is ink pen because pencil messages can be a pain to decipher.) There are some with pre-printed messages or blank forms (I’ll share some here sooner or later) and others with stamped messages, as in…