Penny Postcards

Postcard with writing:

may postcardPrior to WWII penny postcards were too expensive for most folks. Yeah, crazy I know. But if you figure inflation then such a card today might equate to $20 for a “penny” postcard.  Still think it crazy?  I don’t remember my mom using penny postcards until 1940 – just way too expensive for us.

Many families in that time frame still communicated via word of mouth.  Many areas on the frontier didn’t have mail service. We relied mostly on traveling. Someone heard you were going to Salt Lake City? Would you carry a letter for me? Then the letter might often be written on scrap paper, old paper sack, or anything.  And, such travelers often simply “left” such mail with someone at the other end for whenever the recipient asked for it, or showed up for anything.

This 1914 card has every available space covered with writing, in all the margins, front and back, and until, it is a wonder, that it got delivered!  More remarkable even when considering that Mays were more wealthy and more educated than most.

I have an aunt that wrote profuse memoirs – all like this!  First, and typical of these folks, they would write normal letter/card with normal margins. Then they always found that they could not bear to leave all that “wasted” white space, or had more to say. So then, they would turn the paper around writing in each side margin, resulting in ones reading of it the same way, turning it round and round.  That is, if, you could decipher it.

The same aunt, decades later in the 60s, acquired a manual typewriter. She decided to go back and type out her handwritten memoirs.  However, she was still habituated to the same style. So she would type with normal margins, then stick the paper back in sideways to type in the margins just as she had handwritten them before!  Wonderfully difficult to decipher.

The “Virginia” on the label is Virginia Stanley (one of the Goldsmith girls), however this label added much later as there were no zip codes in 1914.

Note that the postmark says “Plymouth” – just one word?

Note the beginning says “New Plymouth, May 7, 1914” — and “answered May 10, 1914”  Pretty fast service – train, of course!

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