Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

The old Halloween cards stand in stark contrast to the Halloween decorations currently available in stores. I went to look for some decorations, because I want trick-or-treaters to see our house as a welcoming one. Unfortunately, about the only decorations I could find were severed limbs, ghouls with various nasty wounds, huge snarling rats, and plastic gravestones. The gravestones are O.K., but what happened to friendly ghosts, smiling jack-o-lanterns, black cats, and witches on broomsticks?

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

The message, sent to Miss Marian Bacon in Marietta, New York in 1922, reads:

Dear Marian,  How are you and Mama + Papa? Are you a good girl? Did you have a Jack O' lantern? It is cold her and has snowed quote a little this week. be a good little girl because Santa will soon be here. Your friend Ella

The second card was sent to Miss Louise Ely in Clyde, New York in 1909.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Lovelights Bussing

This bussing has nothing to do with four wheels. We're talking about kisses here.

 Bussing Meaning and Definition from Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
Buss \Buss\ (b[u^]s), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Bussed (b[u^]st); p. pr. & vb. n. Bussing.] To kiss; esp. to kiss with a smack, or rudely. ``Nor bussed the milking maid.'' --Tennyson. Kissing and bussing differ both in this, We buss our wantons, but our wives we kiss. --Herrick.

Other definitions do not offer a distinction between bussing and kissing, but refer to a relationship to the French word for kissing (baiser) or Welsh and Gaelic words for lips (bus).

These postcards were released in 1909 just about the time the tungsten filament light bulb was being introduced. That's not to say that the events are related in any way, although it's a possibility.
Here are the backs of the cards, which are almost as fun!

The message to Miss Myrl Grose of Muncie, Indiana, reads:

Dear Friend Myrl. I have not heard from you and I want you to write because i am getting kind lonesom down here because you dont write so be sure and write if nothing is the matter
I love my hugging But oh your Kisses,,
Be sure and write me onley get a bout a week and half to work and I will be up their.
By By
From Yours truley
Emerson Hiday (?)
Brightwood 2138 Denot St.(?) 

 Interesting that the back of the last one is different.

Be sure to stop by Sepia Saturday, where you may see a different kind of bus. You can see more cards from the Lovelights series here at Postcard Roundup, and here at Postcardy.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Frog in Your Throat

Frog in Your Throat was a popular brand of throat lozenges at the turn of the century.  They printed a number of cards like this one around 1905 that generally featured a lovely lady in the foreground and a leering frog in the background. The lozenges contained licorice, coltsfoot, wild cherry bark, horehound, cubeb, capsicum, menthol, potassium bitartrate, peppermint, sugar, and other aromatics. Here's a link to a website that shows a nice collection of Frog in Your Throat ephemera.

The back of the card is nice too. It's labeled as a Private Mailing Card instead of a postcard. Prior to the congressional act in 1898, the US Government had a monopoly on printing postcards. After 1898, private mailing cards were allowed, but until 1907 only the address and no message was allowed on the back of the card. That means that a lot of these cards are mysterious; unless the sender wrote on the picture side, there's little indication of who sent it.

While we don't know who sent the card, we do know that it was sent to Miss Prudence Davis of Portland, Maine. A short search revealed that Prudence Augusta Davis (of the same address) studied at Smith College and married Melville H. Marston on Thursday, November 6, 1913.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Leather Postcard

Here's a leather postcard with a strange little saying on the front. The address on the back appears to be burned in. Leather postcards were popular at the turn of the century. Although many of the designs are very beautiful and interesting, I can't say they're among my favorites. For whatever reason, I prefer paper postcards.  This one's pretty interesting though.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tram Tuesday - Philadelphia

This card has a lot to offer. It has the full names and mailing addresses of both the sender and the recipient. Although there is no stamp or postmark, it appears that the card was sent in 1910. Nettie Smith of Philadelphia sent the card to Miss Julia Schneider in Los Angeles. Maybe they were in secretarial school together, because Nettie seemed to be confident that Julia could read her shorthand.  Does anyone still read (or write) shorthand?

It's a little sad to see those old Philly streetcars, because the extensive system that Philly once had is no longer there. I think that there is a greater sense of loss in Philadelphia than in some of the other places where streetcars have been replaced by buses. I hope they make a comeback.

Here's the back of the card.

If you want to read more about the current issues regarding Philadelphia's streetcar system, you may want to check out Eric Miller's The New Colonist.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Quiz Kids

The Quiz Kids were on the Blue Network on Sunday evenings. What was the Blue Network? It was a spinoff from NBC, which eventually became ABC. But this wasn't TV, it was radio. There were many very bright kids on this show, including Joel Kupperman, bottom left, who was able to do amazing calculations in his head. He now teaches philosophy at the university of Connecticut.

The Quiz Kids show was on the radio from 1940 until 1952. People were invited to send in questions, and if your question was selected, you received a radio as a prize. If your question was not selected, you got a postcard like this one, with your address typed on the card by a secretary at the Blue Network. I can't imagine anyone getting a reply at all these days.

The question weren't easy either. Here's a sample:

1. What popular American dessert would you get if you joined up the last name of a 1948 pitcher of the Cleveland Indians with the nickname of the 1927 third baseman of the Pittsburgh Pirates? 

2. What three explorers' last names begin with "La, De and Da?”

3. Arrange the first letters of the four major meatpacking companies so as to spell a branch of the United States armed forces.

4. Why would Pennsylvania and protactinium remind you of the third Sunday in June?

5. What fish spelled backwards is the name of a famous general? 

Let me know if you are able to answer these. I'm going to try spelling fish names backwards to find that general's name...Nomlas? Tuort? Hcrep? Elos?  Tubilah?

Friday, October 21, 2011

More Rudy

Last week, I recounted the tragic story of Rudy along with some pictures. Here are some additional photos of Rudy during his school years. The first photo shows him in the graduating class of Jarvis Street School, which must have been an elementary/middle school. An earlier post showed a circus parade by students at the school. Rudy may be in that picture too, but I couldn't tell you for sure.

Rudy is in the front row, wearing the JS jersey. He doesn't look nearly as tough as the fellow in the second row wearing the same jersey. Some of the boys look very refined with their neckties, but a few look a little rough around the edges.

Here's another picture of Rudy, this time at Binghamton High School with his wrestling (?) team. He's number 7.

Be sure to check out Sepia Saturday for lots of classroom photos and other treasures. If you want to know more about Rudy, check out the previous post with baby pictures, letter etc.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Santa Cruz, California

Most people don't think of casinos when they think of Santa Cruz. Instead, they might think of the boardwalk, hippies, UC Santa Cruz, Birkenstocks, Monterey Bay, the earthquake, etc.
But back in 1904, when the casino was built, it was a main attraction. There was no boardwalk; that was built later around the new casino. The original casino (shown below) burned down in 1906. Work started on a new one in 1907.  As far as I know, that building is still part of the current boardwalk, although there is no gambling there. You can read more about the casino and see a picture of it in flames on the Santa Cruz Public library website., along with some pictures of the new casino.

Here's the back of the card, sent to Ida Schack of Chicago in 1905.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Paris, not just in the spring

Paris anytime! I know people who swear that it's best to visit Paris in the dead of winter.  Others claim it's a good idea to visit Paris during the month of August when all the Parisians are somewhere else. Is it ever the wrong time to visit Paris? Whatever your preference, there's so much to see and do in Paris that it almost doesn't matter when you go. I would like to be there to hear the horse-drawn carriages on the Champs-Élysées, but I think I'm a little late.

I like the idea of traveling to Europe by ship instead of by plane too. It's not the norm these days, but I guess it can be done. I'll just dust off my steamer trunks.

The first card doesn't have a message on the back, but the second one does. Edith sent this card to Mr. and Mrs. W. Abbott in Chicago in 1930. Here's her message:

Dear Folks -
This is some town - and I don't mean maybe. Will have to have a good memory to remember all we have seen - Hope to get our tickets to sail tomorrow - oh, for a calm sea - 
Love to all -

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tram Tuesday - Seattle, Washington

King Street Station (on the right) was completed in 1906 and still looks very much the same, at least on the exterior. The Oregon-Washington Station (later named Union Station) was built alongside King Street Station in 1911. Both Union Pacific and Milwaukee Road trains served this station for 50+ years. Then, Union station sat empty until it was renovated in the 1990s. Now you can rent the grand hall for your wedding or party, but mostly the building is used as the headquarters for Sound Transit.  I haven't seen much of the building interior, but the last time I was in King Street Station it was terribly run down inside and showed evidence of bad remodels. I understand that a restoration process is underway.

Seattle is also bringing back streetcars. See the official Seattle Streetcar website for details.

As for the message on the back, it's page #2 of an extended message, so it doesn't begin or end on this card. Make of it what you will:

2.  mine (you can get them for fifty cents for any camera and they are well worth while and got portraits of about all the bunch. As long as you don't know the people,  and wouldn't probably be interested in the portraits as you would the scenery I'm going to keep them to look at myself until I come home - when I'll show them to you. I have prints of all of that the others took that I was in - too.
I have got mixed up with a jollier, more congenial bunch of young people and we were all just like one big family. After "being in the family" so long, I felt pretty blue at leaving them, and I'm afraid my blueness  was a good deal to blame for my not writing sooner. There is quite a 

And with that abrupt ending, we're off to card # 3, which along with card #1 is not in my possession. It means we don't know who the sender or the recipient was. All we have is that little snippet from the middle.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Views of Oregon

Steven from Facing West kindly sent me these Oregon postcards some time ago. I had trouble finding information on the monument below until Jennfer Keyser of the Oregon Historical Society came to my rescue. The name of the park is now Lownsdale Park and the statue is known as the soldier's monument. It is a memorial to Oregon's 2nd volunteer regiment that helped to capture Manila in 1896 at the end of the Spanish-American War.

Here are a two other cards Steven sent me, a great beach scene at Seaside, Oregon, and a view of Cascade Locks on the Columbia River. I don't go to Seaside very often, but it is a popular destination for Oregonians and visitors alike.

There is now a city called Cascade Locks, but the locks you see in this postcard were submerged in 1938 by the Bonneville Dam, which included its own locks to replace the Cascade Locks. The Cascade Locks were originally built to ease navigation through the treacherous 4.5 mile Cascade Rapids, which Lewis and Clark named The Great Shute. When they came through in 1805, they carried their gear around the rapids and took the canoes down empty.

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

The message sent to Mrs. H.L. Barth of Seattle in 1911 is faint and hard to read, but I think this is what it says:
Portland, Ore May 5, 1911
Dear Fanny:
Rec'd your letter and was very glad to hear from you. I would like to write, but expect to be home soon and will tell you all the news then. We expect to stop over at Centralia and Grand Mound on our way up. We are having a dandy time. Say, maybe I wasent glad to go.
Best. With Love SM

Friday, October 14, 2011


Last week I opened my big mouth and said I would have something to post for Sepia Saturday this week, especially if the theme was World War II, cooking, kidneys or strange outfits. Well, guess what? It seems I got my wish. So, here's the story of Rudy, the uncle-in-law I never met. I'm not sure if you can accurately call a person an uncle-in-law, but it seems less cumbersome than 'the brother of my father-in-law.'

Rudy was born in Binghamton, New York in about 1920. Here he is as a toddler.

 Here's another picture of him (on the left) with my father-in-law, John.

Rudy was in the army during World War II, stationed in England.  Here's a letter he wrote home in 1944.

Rudy worked as a cook in the army.
Does this picture say something about his cooking?

Later, Rudy ended up at the 127th Station Hospital. In the letter below, it sounds as if he is working at the hospital, but this is about the time he became sick and had to be hospitalized. For a long time, they couldn't figure out what was wrong with him. Finally, they discovered he was suffering from kidney failure. The story I have heard is that they went to remove one kidney, but found that he only had one. I don't know if that detail is right, but I do know that it's true that he only had one kidney. There were no kidney transplants at the time and dialysis was in the early development stages. Poor Rudy died at the age of 27.

Here's a letter Rudy sent to his brother John, who was also in the army. I'd love to know what the censors blocked out here.

Be sure to stop by Sepia Saturday for great stories and photos, which may or may not have anything to do with cooks, kidneys, or World War II.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

From Lizzie Graham to her Mother

Here's a card sent to Mrs. George Mable, Lizzie Graham's mother in 1917. I have posted a number of cards from the Graham family, some very animated, and all of them heartwarming. I have also posted a few photos, courtesy of Bernice Mable Graham Telian, Lizzie's daughter. There is something very special about the Graham family.

I wonder if the letter E was left off the word little on purpose?
Here's the back of the card.

The message reads:

Dear Mother - I got my C. yesterday and they are grand. Have been working ever since. Think they would be nice for you? ? Don't know when we will can come up, - the car isn't near ready.  We may go down to Tracy's folks awhile to morrow. I haven't done much this week, I guess it is the weather. Had a card from Aunt Jasmine (?) saying she thot (?) would come but not a word from Cooper's. I have written to them again. Lovingly, L.

On the side it says:

I want you to stop working so hard + I mean business. I'll come up next week some way.

If you want to see more cards and photos from the Graham family, go here.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hotel Gregorian

Here's the excerpt from the previous post on the Hotel Gregorian:
In April 1906, The Montreal Gazette described the Hotel Gregorian as being among those 'realizing the highest ideals of the best homes with an atmosphere of refinement and well ordered ease'. The hotel is still there and is now operated as the Comfort Inn Manhattan Hotel.
This card was sent in November 1939 to Jean Weaver from her mother. Both this message and the one on the previous Hotel Gregorian card are puzzling and mysterious.

I am very curious as to what Mom was up to. She requests that her daughter fill out mail-forwarding requests for two different addresses. Both of these addresses and her daughter's address in Hyde Park, are within blocks of each other. Here's the back of the card.

The message reads:
Dear Sis: Please put pink card forwarding address thru for me at once. Former Chi. addresses
6230 Kimbark
6207 Kenwood
Will write you all as soon as get a machine. Love to all Mom.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tram Tuesday - Racine, Wisonsin

Some of you may remember that before I got lazy and stopped posting on weekends, I used to feature streetcar postcards every Sunday. I haven't done that in awhile, but I thought I would experiment with doing it on Tuesday instead. I may not do it every week, but I'll try to do at least a few a month.

Racine, a city of about 82,000 is located on Lake Michigan and has not had a streetcar since before World War II. That streetcar system ran from 1892 until 1940. Like many cities however, Racine has looked at bringing the streetcar back. Plans for a two-mile streetcar loop are included in the 2005 Racine Downtown Plan. It shows the proposed streetcar traveling on State, Main, 6th, and Marquette streets. As far as I can tell there is no target date though, and it's not there yet.

Here's the back of the card, sent to Gladys Knauf in Akron, Ohio in 1921 (?)

The message reads:

Dear Glad
We are working at this place today. Best to all. C +M
See Rialto theatre this is where we are today. with star above it.

The message makes me think that C + M were Vaudeville entertainers, performing at the Rialto.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Centurylink - exactly which century?

If you're wondering why this post is late, here's the story.
I called Centurylink when I realized I didn't have a dial tone on our home phone. The repairman came and tinkered about and then left, proclaiming the problem fixed. He never tested the telephone though, which still didn't work. Not only that, but the internet, that worked fine before his fateful visit, now didn't work either. It turns out he knew the problem wasn't fixed, because Centurylink had not closed the repair ticket. He must have had other plans.

I won't describe the many phone calls to Centurylink or the number of times I had to enter my phone number, repeat my name, address, and social security number, and re-state the problem. In all, I spent several hours on hold listening to recorded assurances that Centurylink strives to provide excellent customer service and my call is important to them. In any case, their automated caller confirmed that a repair technician would be at my house between 8 am and 11 am. You guessed it - no one showed up! Another hour on hold, and I was told that a technician would be here by 8 pm. Sigh. Anyway, I'm happy to say that it's finally fixed.

It hasn't always been like this. Technology may have moved forward, but it doesn't mean that customer service has. Here's a great example of customer service: the Chinese Telephone Exchange in San Francisco. It opened in 1909, and was staffed with operators who had to speak fluent English as well as five Chinese dialects. They also had to remember not only the names of the thousands of Chinatown residents, but also where they lived. They had to know what they did for a living too, so they could distinguish between two people with the same name.

The exchange was destroyed by the San Francisco earthquake, but was rebuilt and continued to operate until 1949 when the rotary phone system made the switchboard obsolete. For more on the Chinese Telephone Exchange, including video footage from the 1920s, be sure to visit the fabulous foundSF website.

Here's a great card showing the interior of the Chinese Telephone Exchange.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Comstocks

Here is a joyful gathering of Mr. and Mrs. Ross Comstock with friends and family. I don't know who they are or where they are. The stamp box in the upper right-hand corner indicates that the card was printed sometime between 1904 and the 1920s, a fairly broad range.

Is that really a hat the young woman in the front is wearing, or is it something she put on her head as a joke? It's very unusual. It's so nice to have the names on the back, but not knowing the location it's hard to say for sure who these people are.


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