Friday, August 31, 2012

Tuberculosis of the Head

Martha sent this card to her grandmother in May of 1909 from Davenport, New York. At that time her grandmother would have been 73 years old. When Fannie Utter was born in 1836, Andrew Jackson was president, the battle of the Alamo has just been fought, and there were 24 states in the United States. By the time Fannie died in 1915, she had lived through the Civil War, Lincoln's assassination, the invention of the telephone, the automobile, the airplane, moving pictures, and many other historic events. If she had only lived an additional 5 years, she would have been able to vote.

Fannie must have been delighted to get such a beautiful card, but the message probably had her deeply worried.

Dear Grandma
Thanks for the card you sent me I am feeling fine for me and working as hard as ever
Milo is sick again
The Dr. told him Monday he had symptoms of Tuberculosis of the head Wouldn't that be terrible if he has it
you must write a letter soon
from Martha

Oh, I do hope that Milo didn't have tuberculosis of the head. Tuberculosis was one of the leading causes of death at that time.


  1. I was looking at an old medical book, and it seems that one could have tuberculosis of . . .(various parts of the body), I wonder if tuberculosis of the head was something like meningitis?
    Were you able to tell who Milo was and whether he lived much longer?
    The card must've worried her granny.

  2. Love the card -- the message? Kind of strange.....

  3. How did you know Fannie's age from this card? I like how you place it in historical reference to Fannie's life.

  4. Hey Christine

    I really like your old postcard collection, I love the stories, texture and queer details, I have one of my own, maybe you might like them, they're quite broad, it's called the odd postcard

    Toodle pip




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