Thursday, June 30, 2011

Biking around Grant's Tomb

I have lots of postcards of Grant's Tomb, but none of them feature bicycles, much less a tandem!

The card was printed sometime between 1905 and 1908.  Here's the back.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

M is for Mammoth, Musketry, and Monterey

For those who don't think giant watermelons are enough to make a card compelling, this one also includes an interesting message. In 1912, Al sent this card to his friend Clarence C. Woodbury at the School of Musketry at the Presidio in Monterey, California.
As an aside...I wonder if you could get a Master's of Musketry there; it has a nice ring to it. I'd like to be able to say that I got my Master's of Musketry in Monterey.

Al himself lived in Pinecroft, Washington, near Greenacres, just outside of Spokane. His message reads:

Pinecroft April 21, 1912
Dear Slim:-
Received the card a few days ago and will send you some Spokane BS in return. Have been working for Carpenters for over a week. Expect Rand will be back here soon. Goldie says machine men are scarce at W and the Bunker is hollering for men. Well, send us another of those fine cards. I appreciate them a whole lot as ever. Al

Here's the back of the card, turned around so you can read the message.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The French Love Spell

Poor Henri was in love with Mireille.

But then she put a spell on him and something terrible happened to his right hand.

He still looks blissful though, doesn't he?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Giant Potatoes and Typhoid Fever

Both the message and the card itself are a little unusual. Viola sent it from Dixie, Washington (current population about 220) to her friend Edith McKinzey in Portland, Oregon.

The message scrawled on the front says:
Has S. and E.B. made up and got married again - we will surely pull old Daddy by leg. best Regards to Carl from John.

Here's the back of the card.
The message reads:

Dixie Wash
Ans soon
Dear Edith, can't write much as I have the Typhoid Fever, been down in bed 15 days all ready, don't know when I'll be able to sit up. John is getting awful then gives me dope all night and works all day - Viola.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Newport, Oregon

Last week's Sepia Saturday post featured women on the beach, so my post was also beach themed. This week's theme is a little closer to Rosie the Riveter, but I seem to be stuck on the beach.

I just love this real-photo postcard of two women  in their sailor suits on the beach in Newport, Oregon in 1913. There are some interesting details, including the headband, and the bracelet worn above the elbow. There also appears to be a car on the beach. You can see it if you look off in the distance between the two young women.  For whatever reason, what thrills me the most is that they are clearly sitting on a classic Pendleton Mills wool blanket. It doesn't get any better than that.

When you have a chance, get up off your blanket and check out all of the interesting photos at Sepia Saturday.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Greetings from Philadelphia

Philadelphia is not all about cheese steaks and the Liberty Bell, it's also about beautiful women and children - or so it would seem from this postcard.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Unchain My Hart

You're probably familiar with the card game, Old Maid. You don't ever want to be stuck with the Old Maid card at the and of the game.  It's the same with postcards. If you were to buy a lot of postcards on eBay, you might find several postcards of deer hiding in there with city views and nicer cards. Alternatively, you might find some cards of stalactites or other cave interiors. These are the seller's undesirable discards.

I had a lot of very boring deer postcards at one point, until I donated them to SCRAP. This one's not too bad though - and it works as an introduction to the photo of a deer I saw in someone's yard this spring.

Most of the people I know like to keep deer out of their yards, but these people wanted to make sure their deer wouldn't run off.

Merriam Webster's definition for hart: the male of the red deer especially when over five years old.
I'd say this one's at least five years old.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Revolving Beach House

This was touted as the house of the future, a house that could rotate to take advantage of the sun.  Although it has yet to become the rage, rotating houses are still being built. You can determine the speed, from one rotation every thirty minutes to one every 24 hours. I can't help but imagine a malfunction that sends the house into a high-speed spin and pins the occupants against the exterior walls, but I'm sure that never happens.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Man and...

My first inclination is that this is a young man of means (on the left) and his chauffeur.  Maybe, maybe not. And where? Canada?

Here's a close-up of the cap. I can't make out much of it, except it looks as if it ends with SKUTS.

Friday, June 17, 2011


If you go to the beach in northern Germany, you may find that despite the sun it's a little windy.  That's why a fellow from northern German invented the Strandkorb years ago. A Strandkorb, directly translated as 'beach basket', would not only protect you from excessive sun and blowing sand, but it would also offer you a reclining back, an extendable foot rest, and a place to put your tea cup and cookies. And it's great for socializing. Life doesn't get much better.

These are all photos from the village of Wyk on the North Sea island of Föhr around 1957. The first one shows my grandmother with Axel Pohl, whoever he may be.

My great aunt preparing some sort of beverage.


Playing cards...

If you happen to want a Strandkorb of your own, you can order one from Hammacher Schlemmer for only $3,000 (!) plus $80 delivery fee. Keep in mind though that this Strandkorb will be made out of vinyl, not wicker.

Or, you can save yourself $3,080 and head on over to Sepia Saturday for some free entertainment.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Houston, Texas

Main Street in Houston doesn't look a bit like this anymore, which is really too bad. In fact, I couldn't find anything - not one building - that would lead me to think I might be in the same spot. Main Street goes on and on forever, with surface parking, vacant lots, and general sprawl.
Is this the spot? Who knows?

View Larger Map
Here's the back of the card.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The People's Palace

In 1903, the largest Congregational Church of New Jersey laid the cornerstone for the People's Palace in Jersey City. It was to accommodate not only Sunday school, but also dancing, card games, bowling, swimming, and all kinds of recreation. As the Reverend John J. Scudder said at the time: "The People's Palace will sanctify all legitimate amusements and not let the Devil have a monopoly of them. It will keep boys off the street, young men out of saloons, and young women out of dance halls. "

Lora Nichols sent this card to Ed(d) Weed in Milan. I think it's fair to say that it was Milan, New York and not Milan, Italy. The town of Milan is still fairly small, with a population of about 2,300.  Her message reads:
Many Kind thoughts of Jesus from Lora Nichols to Dear Mr. Weed.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Give My Regards to Broad Street

O.K., that's not how the song really goes.  The real chorus is:

Give my regards to Broadway, remember me to Herald Square,
Tell all the gang at Forty-Second Street, that I will soon be there;
Whisper of how I'm yearning to mingle with the old time throng;
Give my regards to old Broadway and say that I'll be there ere long.

Is there a song about Broad Street? If so, I'm not aware of it. As important as the street may be, it probably doesn't inspire the enthusiasm that Broadway does. Broad Street is in the center of Manhattan's financial district, but long ago it was the Broad Canal. Traders could bring their goods into the city via boat or canoe before it was filled in in 1676.

Here are three postcards from different eras, all taken around the intersection of Broad Street and Wall Street. The first one is an early view by the American News Company, looking up Broad Street towards Federal Hall.

If you could walk up the street and turn left at the Federal Hall onto Wall Street, you would have seen a view similar to this, with Trinity Church at the end of the street.

The third picture is from the same general area as the second, but from a number of years later and taken from a different direction.
Here are the backs of the cards in the same order.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Fresh Candy

Sometime between 1904 and 1918 there was an opportunity to buy fresh candy, and the experience was recorded on film. This photo was included with a bunch of other photos from Oregon, but if it's in Oregon I couldn't tell you where. The first two people on the left appear to be tasting the candy. Never mind the location, I wonder what kind of candy it was.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Wyatts of Coos Bay, Oregon

At  a time when many families were posing stiffly for grim-faced portraits, the relaxed and cheerful Wyatt family of Coos Bay, Oregon was living it up for the camera.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Promenade in Nice, France

I can't imagine a nicer setting or a more pleasing promenade - in part because of the storybook colors.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Different Era

A different HAIRa - that's what I meant to say. It wasn't that long ago, but the hair was very different. I think women spent more time styling their hair back then, but I can't be sure. I know that people still have Tupperware, but I haven't ever heard of an actual Tupperware party in my lifetime.

Deborah also sports a classic circa 1970 hairstyle, with the Breck-girl look. I like the waves. Today she'd be using a hair straightener to get them out.

Here are the backs of the cards in the same order.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

St. Joseph Hospital - Bellingham, Washington

Although I might prefer spending time in a hospital that looks like this instead of one of those massive institutions, I would like to make one request: don't carry my stretcher up those front steps. This 53-bed facility was built in 1901 for $21,000 by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace. They raised money to build it by selling hospital tickets far and wide, including to gold miners in Alaska.  Many children with polio were hospitalized here during the 1940s and 1950s.  The facility was expanded several times, but was finally replaced in 1966.

The back of the card has no message, only the address of Miss Phoebe Stinson of Boston.

More information and pictures of the hospital can be found here.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Ham Radio QSL Card

Ham radio operators send QSL cards to each other as a way of verifying contact between stations. QSL is what's known as a Q code used in radio communication. As far as I know, it stands for Query Station Location.  The cards would include the call signs of both stations as well as other information, including the date, time, mode of transmission, frequency and a signal report. Occasionally, they also include information on the equipment used. Although some cards are very simple, others are very creative and colorful, like this one.

This operator sent his card from Moscow, USSR in 1959.

The cards are sent in envelopes, either directly to the recipient or through QSL bureaus, which forward them on to recipients. Use of the QSL bureaus cuts down on postage costs, but delivery time is longer. Nowadays, people can also send the QSL cards electronically as .jpg files.  While there is no postage cost with this, and the confirmation is very quick, it lacks the quality of a paper card that has traveled across the country or around the world.

Many ham radio operators have large collections of QSL cards. I think the hobby is not as widespread as it used to be though. Sadly, technology has diminished the role of the ham radio for communication in emergency situations as well as for recreation.
Here's a link to a website that highlights old QSL  cards.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Oh, the Automobile!

When cars first became available they were still out of reach for many. But if you couldn't buy your own automobile, you could at least pose in one for a studio photograph.

Here are the backs of the cards in the same order.

 The card above was sent to Mrs. Minnie Freese in the small town of Veazie, Maine in 1911.  The people sending the card from Seattle, Washington don't seem to know her personally, but they plan to meet her at the train from her cross-country journey. From the writing style, it would appear that C.N. Babcock is accustomed to writing telegrams.

Mrs. Freese
We received letter. We meet you at train Mrs. Mortin live in town I know where lives  I probly will see here to day I am writing this on my purs so exquse my writing if you should not find us ther fret we will be there  I will give you my phone (sunSet) phone queen Ann 2964 
C.N. Babcock

Motor on over to Sepia Saturday for more old photos.


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