Friday, June 29, 2012

From Fritz to Gillita

Recently I posted another card that was sent to Gillita Workman. We know that she worked in the book department at Bullocks in Los Angeles. It appeared that she never married, but she may have been romantically involved with someone named Honoré.

In August 1913, Gillita was staying at the Pension Frank in Partenkirchen, Germany. There she received a peculiar postcard from Fritz Pfaffenzeller, owner of the Oriental Museum in Partenkirchen. The card is addressed to Miss Gillita Workman from Los Angeles, Pension Frank Partenkirchen. The written message says only:  Best Greeting, Fritz Pfaffenzeller. On the other side of the card, he has attached a newspaper clipping.

The newspaper clipping is a death announcement for Adolphus Busch! Here's the English translation:

News of the Day
Adolphus Busch, the American industrial brewer and philanthropist from St Louis, died in Langenschwalbach. Busch was the president of the largest brewery in America, the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Co., as well as many other important ventures. Above all, Busch was a devoted facilitator of American-German understanding. The construction of the Germanic Museum at Harvard University was made possible through his financial support. Busch had an estate in Langenschwalbach and went there every year for a cure.

Langenschwalbach (now known as Bad Schwalbach) has been a spa resort for centuries. Busch's mansion, Villa Lilly, is now used as a drug rehab facility. Anyway, the question that comes to my mind is "Why did Fritz Pfaffenzeller send this to Gillita with no further explanation or note?" I guess we'll never know, but I did find a little more information on Fritz. He was a world traveler and wrote a few travel books. Someone, perhaps Fritz himself, saw fit to print postcards of him on a camel in front of a pyramid in Egypt.  I found this image of one for sale at

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Giant Raspberries

I know raspberries are in season here, because I've been picking them off of my neighbor's bushes. They aren't giant in size, but they certainly are in flavor.

If you really want a giant raspberry flavor you may have to go to Paris and try one of these. It's called Ispahan.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wish You Were Here

Back in 1957, George was practicing his writing skills and sent a couple of cards to Gramps and Nanny, Nellie and Najeeb Abdallah of Binghamton. I'll post the backs of the cards first for a change of pace.

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

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tram Tuesday - Berlin II

These early views of Berlin show many forms of transportation, including horse-drawn trams, buggies, and carts, a stunning omnibus, and some more modern trams on the Oberbaumbrücke crossing the River Spree.  In the view below, it would seem that all of the passengers on this bus are men, with the possible exception of the one in the very front.

Here's a view of the dramatic Oberbaumbrücke. In later years, this bridge became a pedestrian-only border crossing between West and East Berlin. Today the Berlin U-bahn provides service across the upper part of the bridge.

The card below provides a wonderful contrast of the more modern electric tram with a traditional horse-drawn carriage. In the background, you can see the Neue Wache (guard house for the troops of the Crown Prince of Prussia), with some sort of military event in progress.

This next view of Friedrichstrasse includes a horse-drawn tram and carriages. Is the vehicle on the lower right an automobile? I can't tell.

Finally, here's a view showing the famous Cafe Bauer, destroyed during World War II, and now the site of the Lindencorso Restaurant. This is the just across the street from the former Victoria Hotel and Cafe shown on the first card.

All of these cards are blank on the back.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

These views of Amsterdam look very similar to modern views, with tilting canal houses settling unevenly over the years.

One of the things that differentiates today's view from yesterday's is the forms of transportation. These cards only show people on foot along with one lone horse-drawn cart. Today, you would see some cars, motorcycles and mopeds, but you would also see thousands of bicycles. The bicyclists do not wear any fancy bike gear though, no spandex racing outfits like we might see here in the United States. On our recent trip, we didn't see any helmets either, just typical street clothes, although sometimes the bicyclist might be holding an umbrella or a cup of coffee. All very casual. Here's a night view from the living room of the place where we were staying.

And here is a view of the bicycle parking garage near the train station. I'm afraid I would never find my bike.

Unfortunately, there are no messages on the backs of these cards, but there are interesting instructions in the stamp box. If you wanted to send the card at the less expensive printed-material rate, you were instructed to cross out Briefkaart and Carte Postale. At this less expensive rate, you were only permitted to include the name and date, no message was allowed. This was not unique to the Netherlands. I have seen it on cards from a number of different countries, but I've never seen the rules spelled out like this. The backs of both cards look the same, so I'm only including one.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Oh You Peach!

The sender of this card was probably dreaming of sunny weather and peaches, because it certainly wasn't a reality in March 1912 in Fort Covington, New York. Although the card is addressed to Bessie Belair of Hodensburg, New York, I have a feeling it's supposed to be Ogdensburg. Note: After Rob's comment below, I realize it was probably Hogansburg, New York, a mere 11 miles from Fort Covington in an area close to the Canada border.  In any case, being that far north, you can imagine that they might have heavy snow in March.

This card also brings to mind the work of a postman back then. They were part postman and part detective. To some degree it's still true today. But, imagine, before the advent of zip codes, mailmen often needed to know all of the residents of a town and where they lived, because the entire address consisted of a name and the city and state. Mailmen also needed to decipher difficult handwriting and misspellings.

The message on the back (as much as I can decipher) reads:

Dear Bessie
I have been no place sence not to your mothers or any place the roads are so bad and so much snow I would like to go to your mother I have not seen any of Leo's folk or any of them sence. If the road get better I will try and go before he begans work.  _____ hope you are all well

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Asbestos Letter

Oh, the mystery! Miss Gillita Workman traveled to Europe, where she received postcards care of various pensions and care of Cook and Sons. At home she received cards care of Bullocks, where she worked in the Book Department. Perhaps she had no fixed address. As far as I can tell she never married. The 1930 Census lists her as a boarder at an address in Glendale, California, with an occupation of saleslady in a bookshop.

The front of the card shows a very nice view of Spokane, Washington with building signs and streetcars.
The back of the card, sent in 1920, has a message from Honore Rusner (?) that reads:

Dear Workie
Have oodles to tell you, but must put it in an asbestos letter - when I can.
My address is 
2105 W. Pacific
however and I am
the same.
Honore Rusner

Note: Although I assumed that 'asbestos letter' referred to something to be kept secret, WJY commented below that it is actually archaic slang for a sexually-themed love letter. Presumably asbestos could contain the fire within. WJY also suggests that this may have been a lesbian relationship. The handwriting does look feminine, and although Honoré can be either a man's or a woman's name, it is more often masculine.

Although I have a few postcards addressed to Gillita, I don't have the asbestos letter.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Salty Souvenir from Saltair

Here's another card that might not make it through the mail if it were sent today. It has a little cloth bag of salt attached as a souvenir from the Great Salt Lake.

There's some very faded printing on the bag that says Great Salt Lake. The postcard photo shows people disembarking from open-air curtained train cars, with the first Saltair Pavilion in the background. The pavilion was built in 1893 and burned down in 1925. A replacement was built, but it also suffered from fire damage in 1931 and then burned down completely in 1970. Although a third pavilion was built, it was plagued by various problems, including unpredictable water levels. In a good year you might be on the edge of the water, but the next year might be a different story.

You can see by the back of the card that moisture has wicked out some of the salt.

Here's a close up of the text on the back.

The Salt Lake is also a valuable habitat for birds. Here's an earlier post on bathing at Saltair.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

More from Havana, Cuba

This card showing a peaceful scene on the bay of Havana, was sent to Miss Laoma Berberich in 1920. Miss Berberich was only 7 years old then according to the Census. She later became a nurse and married Joseph Cassidy, a steelworker.

The message to Laoma reads:

Havana Cuba
Mar 17 1920
Just a line and just arrived this am at 6 o'clock did not enjoy the ride as much as expected the gulf was to rough could not lay in bed as the boat rocked so hard I held my own by hard work will write later
Ever Jeff

Here's another view, showing the magnificent Centro Gallego, now the Grand Theater of Havana.

And here's the back of the card, with a description of the club's origins.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Giant Maine Potato

This isn't a generic exaggeration card that could be anywhere USA. The giant spud is sitting on a classic northern Maine Bangor and Aroostook Railway car. The Bangor and Aroostook Railway (BAR) did in fact haul potatoes (in heated boxcars, no less) and at one time owed half of their annual revenue to transporting the tasty tuber.

The card was sent to Henry Fray in Seattle in 1910 from J.M.W. in Limestone, Maine. The message is a little hard to read, but here's what I could get from it (Note: Bsh indicates bushels). I love that it's a card sent by a Maine  potato farmer:

Dear Fray we are all done digging spuds raised 5300. Bsh like the chap on the other side here at the home farm and 4000. Bsh on the farm that Ben is on. I am still making starch will probably be at it three weeks more. Wish I could come and make you a visit there. All well. J.M.W.

Even though the initials J.M.W. would not appear to provide a lot of information, Limestone is a pretty small place and there were only so many potato farmers. I believe that this card was written by J.M. Ward.  In a 1916 publication on agricultural economics, J.M. Ward details the equipment needed for his potato farm.

Here's a great photo from Wikipedia, showing a potato caretaker's card. Because potatoes were so important, men were hired to take care of them on the trains and make sure the proper temperature was maintained in the cars. The pass allowed the 'potato caretakers'  free train travel back home.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Havana, Cuba

I've always wanted to visit Cuba, and hope to do so before it changes too drastically.  I imagine it to look similar to this 1949 postcard, though I'm sure there aren's so many commercial signs. The cars may look similar though, since Cuba still has many vintage cars in working condition. The Saratoga Hotel, dating back to 1879, is still open for business and looks like an elegant place to stay.

Here's another card that shows an earlier view, but the postcard itself wasn't sent until 1954. Note that the card was published by the Roberts Tobacco Co. of Havana. I like how the Asturiano Club Building extends into the white border of the postcard.

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

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Park Row, New York

I like to imagine being the young woman in Fort Benton, Montana who received this postcard in 1906. It must have seemed  fantastic, nearly unbeleivable. But then again, if you have a  prophetic name like Vista Henderson, maybe not.

At the time, the iconic Park Row skyscraper was the tallest office building in the world.  Note that the sender drew him or herself on the top of the building, along with a message that reads:

How would you like to be at the top of this? In a hotel we stayed at, our rooms were on the 17th floor and the diningroom  was six stories higher up, on the 23.

The Park Row Building was built in 1899 and remained the tallest office building until the Singer Building was completed in 1908. Currently, the building is a mixture of commercial and residential uses.

The message on the front of this card, sent to Jessie M. Gray in Portland, Oregon, reads:

Dear Jessie:
I am expecting a letter. Having a fine time on Coney Island tonight. Saw a girl in the theatre last night looked like you. Don't work too hard is my advice to all young people. how is "Oregon" hotel overtime. Regards "Jimmie"

Here are two additional views of the building.

And here are the backs of the cards in the same order.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Looking for Bears

These time saver cards can be pretty amusing.  The first one is from Sayner, Wisconsin, but appears to have been sent from Boulder Junction, Wisconsin.

The card was sent to Mrs. Jennie Weeks in Colfax, Illinois from her niece Ruth. The message reads:

Dear Aunt Jennie
The 30th we went out to look for bears. But we did not see a bear. The 28th we went to a lumber camp for dinner. love Ruth

Here's another time saver card, although this one doesn't have any check marks and was never sent.


Related Posts with Thumbnails