Friday, May 20, 2011

The Ailing Professor

This lovely card was sent to me by Lily Hydrangea of the Long Island Daily Photo. She and her family stopped at the Brattle Book Shop in Boston, where in addition to books there were lots of old postcards. They collectively debated over which postcard to send me and finally agreed on this one. It's especially amusing and touching because I have never met Lily or her family before, but she had read my blog and thought I would appreciate the card.  And she was right. You can read her post about the bookshop here.

There's something so bucolic about all of these people relaxing in the park. I wonder if they were listening to a band or simply conversing.

The back of the card has an intriguing message.

The message sent to Marinda Locke in 1923 reads:
Martha's Vineyard
Dear Marilockie:
We start on our homeward trip tomorrow and by Friday afternoon I shall be telephoning to know how you and our professor are. My love to you both and to your dear brave mother. K.L.B.

I found some information in the Mount Holyoke College archives that may help to explain this message: Marinda Adams Locke graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1893. She worked at various schools before becoming a nurse in 1898. Thereafter she worked at a hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. It sounds as if she never married.

Her sister Adelaide Locke also graduated from Mount Holyoke (1892) - and from the Hartford Theological Seminary (1896). She taught Biblical History at Wellesley, and according to the book In Adamless Eden: The Community of Women Faculty at Wellesley by Patricia Ann Palmieri, she lived with her mother.
So, why does the message refer to the 'dear brave mother'? Well, it seems that her daughter the professor was probably in ill health, since she died the following year. Presumably Marinda was there to help with nursing duties. Marinda lived until 1951.


  1. It really is a neat card. It is a great gift.

  2. My grandmother had some postcards that showed people picnicking at a shore. But these people were my relatives and their friends, actually my grandma and grandpa when they were young, wearing the suits and dresses to the picnic. She told that I would get these cards when she died. But they disappeared. They would mean more to me than any of the other cards (about 1000) I own. So this card brings back memories.

  3. Looks like a relaxing lounge in the park, pretty card. Oak Bluffs was the center for a large annual Methodist revival starting in the late 19th century, and the tent encampments eventually were replaced with tiny Victorian/gothic cottages, many of which are still there today- it is a unique site to visit if you are ever on Martha's Vineyard. That religious connection might also explain Adelaide's study at seminary and later teaching of Biblical History.

  4. Your talent for research totally amazes me! I cannot wait to show this post to my husband & son. Fascinating!
    it really is such a neat thing, what you do.
    thanks for alerting me to your fine post.

    : )

  5. Isn't it wonderful to get surprise mail! Neat postcard.

  6. What people did before there was Internet:)

  7. Wonderful card and great story! As others have said, your research skills are enviable!

  8. Awesome. It's great to see postcards that include people as a substantial part of the picture, as they're usually only tiny figures in the distance.

  9. I am always amazed when people find so much information about the people named on postcards.

  10. Signora Christine di Tectiv, you have again a well-researched, nice blogpost. :)
    Since the crowd is so dispersed, they wouldn't be listening to a live-performing band.
    If you look closer, you just might notice everybody listening to their iPod...or inner music.
    Somebody said that most of us go to our graves with our "music" still in us...:)



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