Tiny Notes

I love old postcards. Not just because of the variety of art work on the front, but also because of the little treasures of text on the back. I love looking at what people have written, seeing where the cards were postmarked, where they traveled to. I like looking at the stamps, and the way the words “Post Card” are written. I love to see the way people spelled words and the appearance of their handwriting. So I decided to share with you some little gems from my collection.

It’s amazing how much information people could squeeze on the back of one half of a 3 X 5 inch postcard. And almost without an exception, they’re all written in cursive. In fact, if you think about it, postcards are really the handwritten equivalent to text messaging. There are little spelling shortcuts, the grammar is horrible but understandable, and getting to the point is of the utmost importance.

Below you’ll find scans of the postcard backs. If you click on the pictures, they’ll open up in a larger window. Beneath each thumbnail, I typed out the text to the best of my ability. If something was undecipherable, I put a question mark in its place.

I hope you’ll enjoy reading these as much as I do. They reveal a lot about the people and times, in some cases, of almost one hundred years ago.

To Mrs. BC. Bartlett
Melrose, Wisconsin

My Dear Sister,
Why don’t you write, all I’ve had is that short letter new years time. We are all pretty well now. Jared (?) has the rheumatism quiet (quite?) bad though.

Your loving Sis.
Shell Lake
April 13, 1911


To Miss M.N. Sullivan
Pacific Gas and Elec Co.
518 13th St.
Oakland, Cal

Dearest Auntie,
Here I am in De Sabla. Went fishing last night with Willis. He is a cute kid. He caught 5 and me 0. Listen dearie will you do something for me? I broke my little barette and my bob is awful. Can you get me one and send it to me as soon as possible. Any kind 50 cents at Maymonts (?) will be great. I’ll pay you when I get home or chg (charge?) to me. Will write today.
Love to all,
Mame

1922
Cal


To Irene Howlett
Parkville, Mich.
St. Joe Co.

Dear Cousin,
This in haste. We are marketing our Pears and Potatoes now. We had a fine fall. You remember the doily I was working on or finished when we was at your place. Well I have eight to make like six before xmas tow (two?) after. I will have to make my fingers go. Addie adress is 2098 E 93 St. Chevel and ? Sarah. Put our B.D. 33 on my mail. Will get it sooner as there are many Lorvers (?) in Barberton.

Nov 3, 1914
Barberton, Ohio


To Miss Mary C. Lenig
Ickesburg, Pa.

Well Mary, was disiappointed again. This morning Harry was watching for you. Have you got the mumps yet? Wesley has them and Serilda. Thomas thinks he is getting them & he is ordering fish. Don’t know how he will distribute them. Your Pa & Ma was to Markleville yesterday. StellaNoll and her mother started for the west this morning. Aunt Harriet T. fell on Sat. & nearly broke her nose. You ought to see her . . her face is as black as a stove. Her nose is like a rainbarrel. Ha. Ha. Dont laught. Shell (?) said you diden’t get up in time to go along this morning. Harry is crying to go to Gammas(?).
From Mary

April 4, 1910
Wila, PA


To Mrs. Anna Smith
Woodland, Mich

Hellow anna
John & Clara B. hope you are all well. Marian is about the same not able to do any thing.
love to all.
Ruland

Feb. 19, 1917
Fort Recovery, Ohio


To Miss Florence Shafer
Sparta, Wis.
329 North L. St.
c/0 C. W. Hubbard

Dear Sister Florence:
I will send you an Easter card to remind you of next sunday. I don’t think I will come down saturday. I can’t stay down at nite. If I do come . but don’t think you will see me this saturday. You want to know how you are going to Catarrah(?). I just can’t wait until I can get down town to stay, but I won’t stay in this town very long. I got Mamies letters yesterday. I didn’t go over to help her wash this week. I guess it made her mad becasue I wouldn’t get out of the wash tub monday and go over and help her but I don’t care about scrubbing her old carpets and how so you see it dont hurt me. I couldn’t work around that mut any how. Answer Soon. I am same as B/4.
Your Loving Sister M.E. S.
I have sent 7 Easter cards and another one besides. Home (?) writing today.

April 19, ’16
Sparta, Wis


To Mr. Chas Rice
Pontoosuc, Illinois

Now Charle Please don’t be so mad at me we got a man to work for us this morning we are all well will send Earl a card some of thse days have 25 Banties
Aunt May

June 4, 1908 (?)


To Mrs Ora Wickett
New Virginia, Iowa
R.F.D. #

Mrs Wickett,
I think the 26 is your birthday am I right about it? Just thot I’d remind you of it and wish you many more such days. how is baby Ashton our baby Raymond is doing fine. I haven’t any little chickens yet & only 6 hens setting, have some garden made come over & stay all day all of you. With best wishes your friend Ella Kimmer (?)

April 24, 1909
New Virginia, Iowa


To Oscar Rowlett
Kempton, Ind.
Tipton Co.

Did you read all of that long letter I wrote you?

Dear Papa: I was glad to hear from you and I think that card is real cute. I hope you are having a good time and you must have a good time. Thanks– giving for me too. We are all well.
Your loving daughter,
O. Irene R.
70 D.E. Smith
R.F.B. No. 2

Nov 22, 1910
Maysville, [Indiana]


To Mrs. Mae Thompson
Samoa, Cal

Dear Mae
How are you when you come out we will play you the song silver bell. Ruth got from Anita (?). It for the phonograph. It is a dandy.

Dec. 12, 1910
??tuna, Cal


To Mrs. Gustaf Asherooth
Milnor
Sargent Co (?)
R.R. #3
N. Dakota

Dear Laura.
At last I am going to write you a few lines to let you know we didn’t quite freeze up. for all we have (?) had such a long winter. I was sorry to hear Emma lost her little girl she surely must miss her. What ailed her. I suppose you have all your summer sewing all done. I am just in the middle of mine. I wish I could run away from it too. Now write soon.
With much love and Best wishes to you, Minnie

April 4, 1912
Fairview, Mont.


To Miss Cementine Meyers
1163 Turk St.
San Francisco, California

Can you decode it???

March 29, 1911
Bakersfield, Cal


To Ernest Patterson
[I can’t read the address]

Uncle Ernest
I will send you a card with the rest of them I would like to come down to give you a thrashing.
Walter

Dec. 16, 1908

16 thoughts on “Tiny Notes

  1. I haven’t any little chickens yet & only 6 hens setting, have some garden made come over & stay all day all of you. With best wishes your friend Ella Kimmer (?)
    April 24, 1909
    New Virginia, Iowa
    I love reading about daily living in those days .Thank you so much for posting them.
    hugs ginger

  2. Hi Karen,

    What a treat to put these up. Thank you so much. Each one has you starting a new story in your head – reading them is like taking a little mental vacation! Thanks!

  3. Thanks for sharing these. Some of them were downright
    funny! It does give you glimpse into people 1911.
    Going to “Catarrh” was really funny.

  4. I adore old postcards, too!

    Did you know that years ago, cursive was the first form of writing taught in schools? Printing was taught only after cursive was mastered. The reasoning behind it was because cursive is a free flowing and round lettering that is much easier on the hands and mind to train. Think about the drawings that children make…..they usually start with circular lines. Our minds and hands automatically function better this way. It’s fluid and moves. :)

  5. I had such a collection of the coolest postcards but stored them in a shed which, we found out too late, leaked! The entire box was ruined, all the cards destroyed. I enjoy this post so much. The collage farther down your blog of the mermaid was very interesting. I just gave away a mermaid that was a bit similar in a swap. My Folk Art mermaid was tossing shells to the shore.
    Pam

  6. hi karen, it has been a long time..i was so happy to get your newsletter..i love these post cards has anyone de coded the meyers one yet? we have since moved from az back to my beloved ft myers, florida, but i always jump into your pages..i have the wonderful painting i bought from you “lets tell the stories” and i see it everyday another joy..you and yours be well…Namaste’, carol

  7. Karen, the coded postcard really made me laugh! I think John is a little short in the romance department! I wonder how he fared… I wasn’t sure if you’d decoded it or not, but if anyone wonders:

    Wednesday. Dearest, I guess the only way to get you to write oftener is to send you a line every day. This is a hot evening. Love and kisses. From John

  8. My housework, family and everything else (including the dog) has gone hang today, since I discovered your website! Am leaving my chair at the computer only to go reluctantly to bed!

    What’s written on the back of postcards (even the very enigmatic ones!) is often greater than the picture, and surprising touching sometimes. If you like that sort of snatch of real people from the past, it’s worth spending an hour (or more) on the Library of Congress website “American History” section, where there’s the most magic collection of letters following a young couple in the Civil War thro’ their homesteading days. Sounds dry and academic, but these are real people in real times, and some of it’ll make you cry for sure.

    Again, the website is great – will look forward to the newsletter and plenty of revisits!

    Kind regards from England, Hazel

  9. The card to Ernest Patterson looks like the address is Cambridge, Ohio – just what it appears to be to me – enjoyed reading all the cards – like a trip to the past.

  10. Those vintage post cards are quite the site to see. I wish I had kept mine when I was younger to look back upon.

  11. I had such a collection of the coolest postcards but stored them in a shed which, we found out too late, leaked! The entire box was ruined, all the cards destroyed. I enjoy this post so much. The collage farther down your blog of the mermaid was very interesting. I just gave away a mermaid that was a bit similar in a swap. My Folk Art mermaid was tossing shells to the shore.
    Pam

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