One Postcard Saturday: Uncle Vin

When I think of Christmastime, from years gone by, it surely brings to mind my Aunt May and Uncle Vin.

For several years, that I can remember, my family would visit their house around the holiday. My memories of these visits include watching “home movies” which was a pretty cool thing when I was a kid.

As I got a little older, we no longer made these regular visits; however, they continued to send us each a gift every year. It always made me feel “special” to open their gift and mom would make sure we wrote thank-you notes of appreciation. I saved some of these gifts for many years and thought of them each time I came across one.

Of course, there were times other than holidays that I was fortunate enough to visit their home. One time, I remember being there when a solar eclipse was happening, mid-day, and it got really dark and eerie outside. As time went on, I feel there should have been more effort on my part to visit on a regular basis–I always feel badly about that.

Aunt May was always a very gracious hostess. They had a finished basement area where they commonly held gatherings. I can remember being there with Gra Gra on a few occasions, downstairs, watching Aunt May as she arranged her floral display. It seems that she really enjoyed arranging flowers as that is something that really sticks out in my mind. I remember her as a very kind and gentle person.

May Clare was born in 1903 and married Vincent C. James on Oct. 28, 1926. She died in 1984. I remember that she had been in a nursing facility for quite a while prior to her death.

Vincent C. James was born on Nov. 30, 1901 and was half brother to Gra Gra (Bertha James Watts). He died early March of 1997, at age 95. My dad died in the same month. My dad had been basically housebound for several months, not really able to walk, but he insisted we get him to Uncle Vin’s funeral. That tells the content story of Uncle Vin’s character.

The picture below was taken in 1948, at my parents wedding. Uncle Vin is the one shown between my mom and dad. His brother Lester is shown between my dad and their sister Bertha (Gra Gra).

His parents were George L.P. James (1869-1926) and Susan Mary Henrich (1876-1956). Vincent lived in the Riverpoint area of West Warwick, Rhode Island, for most all of his life. Shown in the picture below with their mother, Vincent is the taller boy on the right and his brother Lester is on the left.

My featured postcard was sent to Vincent in 1915 so he would have been 14 years old at the time. He looks close to that age in the photo above. The sender of the postcard was Cousin Frances. She was the daughter of Helen (Lena) Henrich Strople-Roessler and Leon Strople. Lena and Francis are in the picture below.

Frances was born on Nov. 11, 1911, so she was only four years old when the postcard was sent.

By looking at the handwriting on the postcard, I believe that it was actually completed by the grandmother Frances (Schlosstein) Henrich because it is not Lena’s handwriting. Lena and Leon were married in 1910 and were living in Wrentham. They later divorced. Lena and baby Frances moved back to Plainville and was living with Lena’s mother Frances at Bacon Square. I believe they were living there at the time this postcard was written. To learn more about Lena, please read my previous post: What’s in a Name, Lena Henrich? and for a few more Christmas postcards within the James Family, please read post: James Family Christmas Postcards, Early 1900s.

Shown above is a sample of Lena’s handwriting from a different postcard. It is very different compared to the actual card that was sent to Vincent, shown below. The message reads: “I wish you a very Merry Xmas. Your Loving Cousin Frances.”

This postcard was published by the Stecher Lithographic Co. (1887-1936), of Rochester, NY. Around the turn of the century, they were producing artist-drawn holiday postcards. On the front of my featured postcard are the artists’ initials of M.E.P. which I believe to be that of illustrator and artist Margaret Evans Price (1888-1973). She went on to co-found the Fisher-Price Toys in 1930 with her husband, Irving Price and partner Herman Fisher.

Often, Uncle Vin would share a piece of his wisdom with us. One time, I can remember he was sitting in a chair in Gra Gra’s living room–maybe, after a family funeral, not sure–he made a remark to me that I would never have to worry about going hungry, that my parents would make sure of it.

Throughout his years, Uncle Vin would often write a “Letter to the Editor” piece that would appear in the local paper, including during the WWII era. On Dec. 7, 1941, the United States was attacked by Japanese forces, at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The day after the attack, the U.S. entered into World War II.

In support of our soldiers, Uncle Vin wrote the following poem, in 1942, for the Remembrance of Pearl Harbor Day.

CHRISTMAS — 1942
Written by the late Vincent C. James

The smoke of war is in the air,
Our boys are marching everywhere,
Old Hirohito sneaked a crack,
And shoved a dagger in our back.

Our Coffee, Gas, and Sugar is short
We lie like hell, but all for naught
Our houses cold at sixty five
We watch in dread for Mercury’s dive.

We can’t get tires to save our steps,
Our meat is scarce, we’re in the depths,
We’ve signed a thousand questionnaires
They come in singles, threes, and pairs.

We worry about the money we earn
‘Cause next year’s tax will be tough we learn
We can’t drink gin our worries to drown
‘Cause the price is way, way up–not down.

In spite of this long tale of woe
And as time flies we know ’twill grow
We know we’re still Americans yet
With a love for Country that’s real, you bet

And so we find the cash for Bonds,
To buy the boats that cross the ponds,
We work long hours and slave and sweat,
And we’ll lick the damned old Axis yet.

But bigger yet is the job we’ll do
When we turn to God when we’re feeling blue
And His blessings will shower on all of us here
As we look to the start of another New Year.

So let’s build up cheer for this Christmas to come
And keep up morale while our factories hum
We don’t want to let all our Service men down
So turn on the smiles, tho’ bad news bids us frown.

And we’ll find that this year, more than ever before
That the Spirit of Christmas to our boys will mean more
If we keep our chins up, those of us over here,
Bringing true Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.

Until next time…

Happy New Year Greeting Postcards

As the calendar begins 2019, I share with you today a few greeting postcards from at least 100 years ago. These particular cards were sent for Happy New Year wishes to Aunt Etta (Henrietta James Hooper), you may learn more about her from my previous blog posting: Intro to Aunt Etta And Her Great Adventures.

My featured postcard is re-shown below, both the front and reverse sides. The publisher is unknown and I cannot seem to locate any artist signature. The picture on the front, in my opinion, is quite intriguing–from dogs operating a flying machine and their shaking out bags of gold coins to the scene below of a train just exiting from a mountain tunnel. The greeting on the front is very simple, “A Happy New Year”.

This card, shown above, was sent to Mrs. W. Hooper, (Aunt Etta) in Franklin, Mass., and it looks like the sender’s name is Mary Markam. It was postmarked from Providence, RI, in 1913. The handwritten message says: “Wish you a Happy New Year. Hoping to see you soon.”

The next postcard, shown below, is artist signed by Frances Brundage (1854-1937). In a previous blog posting, I outlined some history of this artist, take a look: Halloween Postcard by Artist Frances Brundage.

This Brundage card was printed in Germany, published by the Sam Gabriel Co., it was part of their “New Year” Series, Artistic Postcard No. 1301. The greeting on the front says: “A Happy New Year”. The message side is simply signed: “From Frances”. I do assume that the sender of the card was from a friend of Aunt Etta’s named Frances, not from the artist herself. The card has no postmark, address or message information so I am just showing the front side.

The next postcard shows a snowman watching children playing in the snow. It has a verse on the front: “New Year Greetings. Of all kindly Wishes…old and new, A Happy Heart…is what I wish for you.”

This card was published by International Art Publishing Co. (1895-1915) and was printed in Germany, it has a number–Series 4672.

The sender of the card was Mary Louise Connor. It was postmarked from Franklin, Mass., on December 31, 1915. At the time, Aunt Etta was living in Franklin.

The handwritten message reads: “Am very sorry to hear of your illness, and hope that the New Year will find you much improved”.

So it would appear that Aunt Etta had some illness toward the end of 1915.

 

The next postcard was postmarked on January 1st, 1918, from Worcester, Mass. The sender was Mr. & Mrs. Clarke and the handwritten message reads: “With best wishes for A Happy New Year”.

Aunt Etta was living in Franklin, Mass., at the time.

This card was made in the U.S.A., but the publisher is unknown and I do not see an artist signature.

The lower left corner of the front side is marked as NY-103.

The verse on the front of the card reads: “May New Year chimes ring in for thee, Health, Wealth and Prosperity”.

 

At the end of 1918, Aunt Etta was living in Plainville, Mass., and the next postcard, shown below, was sent to her in care of Bernice Hatch. It was postmarked December 30, 1918, from Providence, RI.

The front side shows a steam train and seemingly the train station, with snowy weather. The verse reads: “New Year Greetings. A short toot-toot, from the engine flute, With a clang from the bell, so clear, And the train’s away with this to say: I wish you A Happy New Year”. The card is numbered on the front, N.Y. 130, was made in the U.S.A., but the publisher is unknown.

The handwritten message, on the reverse side of this card, actually lists a return address which is rare to find: “8 Western St., Prov., RI. Dear Friend, Just a word to greet you and wish you well, from an old friend, Rose”. As time allows, in future days, if I do some further research with Census records or City Directories I should be able to determine the last name of Rose.

My final New Year postcard, shown below, was published by John Winsch, the design was copyrighted in 1912. The greeting on the front side reads: “Best New Year Wishes”.

The card was postmarked on December 31, 1912, from Providence, RI and was sent to Aunt Etta in Franklin, Mass. The sender is listed as “The Three Graces” which I have yet to correctly identify but believe it to be cousin relations to Etta. In the message, the sender refers to “Myrtie” who I do not recognize but it may be a helpful clue in further research.

The handwritten message says: “Honey, did you receive the package I sent you for Christmas? How are you all. Thought you were coming in soon. Received Myrtie’s betrothal cards yesterday–suppose you have yours by this time. Best Wishes for a Happy New Year. with our love to all, from The Three Graces.”

That is a wrap for today!

With sincere wishes for a Happy and Healthy New Year to all!

Until next time…

 

Halloween Postcard by Artist Frances Brundage

Since the month of October is now upon us, I have been sorting through the family postcards looking for any that may be focused on Halloween…there will several posted here on my blog during the month.

Today, my rather brief posting will focus more on the artist rather than the family history. The featured postcard, illustrated by Frances Brundage, was postmarked in 1911. This postcard was printed in Germany, published by the Samuel Gabriel Company of New York, it was number 120 in their Halloween Series.

The following biographical information, on the artist, was found online from Wikipedia.

Frances Isabelle Lockwood Brundage, an American illustrator, was born on June 28, 1854, in Newark, New Jersey. She was the daughter of Rembrandt Lockwood and Sarah Ursula Despeaux.

Frances began her career at age 17, after her father had abandoned the family. Her illustrative art primarily focused on endearing Victorian children. She would go on to illustrate many books and postcards, as well as, other ephemera items.

In 1886, she married William Tyson Brundage (1849-1923) who was also an artist. They had one child, Mary Frances Brundage, who died in 1891 at age 17 months.

Frances Brundage died on March 28, 1937, at the age of 82.

Certainly, I will be sharing more postcard images from this artist in the near future, as I know there are others.

This particular postcard was sent to Grandma Julia James (2x great) in 1911, while she was living in Franklin, Mass., probably with Aunt Etta at that time. According to the postmark, the sender Mrs. Starck, appears to have lived in Plainville, Mass., where Grandma Julia previously lived. In the future, I will try to properly identify this Mrs. Starck as I know there are many other postcards that were received from her.

In the meantime, I am in the process of putting together the information for my next blog posting–also a featured Halloween postcard. There was a great mystery to be solved, which has been successfully unlocked–at least in part.

Until next time…