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 I think that there is a greater sense of loss in Philadelphia than in some of the other places where streetcars have been replaced by buses.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.


  1. certainly was a neat way to keep people from nosing around...

  2. What is that writing, some kind of shorthand?

  3. The terminal was (and is, as it is still there...) a formidable building with a few peculiar details: 1) the single curved bay on the double brackets at the corner- what made that location (and not the other floors) so special as to deserve this detail? 2) the totally industrial looking canopy over the entry, which seems completely out of character with the rest of the building's details (and even less fancy than the canvas canopy on the comparatively rinky-dink building to the left), and 3) the shadow of the building across the street blotting out the entry arcade of the terminal- I'm sure the shadow existed in real life, but they certainly could have omitted it in the colorization process a la early Photoshop.
    And to think that I didn't even realize this building existed as I walked out of the Market East Station (located below the terminal) after the train ride from the Philly airport to downtown a month ago- good thing Christine posted it!

  4. The architectural details, the awnings and the tram make this special. The shadow doesn't bother me, actually gives the card a sense of life unfolding.

  5. Christine, some time back I came across a woman whose speciality is deciphering shorthand -- for a fee. I sent her a scan of a French postcard -- alas, never heard back. But there really are folks who can still read that stuff:)

  6. Terrific card and even better mystery on the back. Taking dictation in shorthand is such a forgotten craft, yet once it must have seemed a special secret code for so many young women trained as secretaries. I hope you can solve this one.



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