One Postcard Saturdays: Charlestown Bridge in Boston

Timing is everything!

Much to my surprise today, when I randomly picked my featured postcard, I learned that in less than two weeks demolition will begin on the historic Charlestown Bridge. It is also known as the North Washington Street Bridge located in Boston, Massachusetts.

This very rare steel, swing drawbridge (center pier) structure was built between 1898-1900 by the Boston Transit Commission. Their Chief Engineer was William Jackson (1848-1910) and it was constructed by the Pennsylvania Steel Company, of Steelton, PA.

Several years ago, I developed a greater appreciation for the various types of bridges that are constructed. One of my children had an extensive segment in school learning about bridge history with all the different types and specific designs so they could learn to recognize such differences–the assignments included projects such as detailed drawings. Before that point, I really had little realization of such wide differences in bridges.

Bridge Details-

The Charlestown Bridge was 100-foot wide and about 1000-feet long. Being located on North Washington Street and going over the Charles River it connected the historic Boston neighborhoods of Charlestown and the North End.

This double-decked bridge was designed to carry the Charlestown Elevated Railway, as well as, vehicle traffic. There was an overhead structure built on the center lane of the bridge for the Elevated mainline tracks, with the lower deck for two 28-foot carriageways on either side of a 22-foot right-of-way for electric streetcars.

The draw span was about 240-foot in length and consisted of four pin-connected trusses. The turntable motors of this bridge were electrically operated and took about two minutes to open or close the span. The draw was last used in 1956 and was permanently closed in 1961.

The Elevated and surface tracks were eliminated on the bridge in 1975.

In August of 2018, construction began on a replacement bridge and is expected to continue until Spring of 2023.

A temporary bridge has been installed and will be used starting in less than a week, on July 17th, until the permanent one is ready. Sadly, demolition of the old historic bridge is set to begin on July 20th.

The new bridge being constructed is being called a “street over water” and it will include: two vehicle lanes in each direction; one inbound bus lane; cycle tracks in each direction; and sidewalks on both sides with an overlook and seating area.

Postmark Info-

My actual featured postcard, with message shown below, was postmarked from Franklin, Mass., and was sent to Mrs. Henrietta J. Hooper (1861-1943), in Plainville, Mass. If you would like to learn more about Aunt Etta, please see my previous blog post: Intro to Aunt Etta And Her Great Adventures.

Postcard Message-

As best that I can make out, the message reads as follows:

Dear Etta, Hope you area feeling well. Am sorry I got so behind with the papers (?) but since inspection was over I have been cleaning house and for the last two days have been in the attic. I get so tired by night I can’t write or do much of anything but go to bed. All you can do is to scold me when you see me. It seemed like old times to see Mrs. Stewart and Mrs. Wood at the Corps meeting. Don’t work any harder than you have to. Goodbye with love, Winnie

One of the organizations that Aunt Etta belonged to was the Women’s Relief Corps (WRC), which was the Auxiliary to the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR). So, I am assuming that is the Corps meeting referred to by the postcard sender. There are other postcards in Aunt Etta’s collection signed by Mrs. Stewart so I recognize that name but I don’t recall seeing a Mrs. Wood at the moment.

Postcard Publisher-

This postcard was published by the Tichnor Brothers, Inc. (1908-1987), Cambridge, Mass. They published a wide variety of postcard types.

If you are new to my blog, my posting today is part of a series I call “One Postcard Saturdays” where I feature a postcard that usually has some type of landmark picture. In turn, I explore the landmark with a little research and try to give a few details about it.

Until next time…


Reference Sources:


Commonwealth of Massachusetts. North Washington Street Bridge Replacement, Accessed 11 July 2020.

Historic Bridges. North Washington Street Bridge; Charlestown Bridge, Accessed 11 July 2020.

Metropostcard. Publishers, Accessed 11 July 2020.

Wikipedia. Charlestown Bridge, Accessed 11 July 2020.


The Liberty Bell Meets Bunker Hill

On this Independence Day, the inspiration for this post has come via a booklet found within one of Grandma Julia’s postcard albums. This booklet was a souvenir of the journey from Philadelphia made by the Liberty Bell in 1903 to Bunker Hill, in Boston. If you would like to learn more about Grandma Julia, please read one of my previous postings, such as: Intro to Grandma Julia and the Bitgood’s Pine Knoll Laboratory.

My assumption is that Grandma Julia must have made the trek to Boston to see the Liberty Bell when it came to town.

The train schedule of the bell traveling from Philadelphia to Boston
The return trip train schedule, from Boston to Philadelphia.

My featured postcard is an embossed card, made in the U.S.A.. The actual publisher is unknown but it has printed on the reverse side “Patriotic Series No. 252”. The front side has a verse: “O may its stars forever shine So bright that all may see, To walk in Justice, Love and Truth And Glorious Liberty”.

The following image is of a Bunker Hill postcard of the Bunker Hill Monument, Charlestown, Mass. It was Sent to Gra Gra, postmarked from Boston, 1913. White border card published by New England News, Boston, Mass. If you would like to learn more about Gra Gra, please read one of my previous postings, such as: Intro to Gra Gra & Volunteering at Kent Hospital.

The Liberty Bell is a symbol of American Independence, it took on the symbol of Liberty during the 1830’s. It bears the message: “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants Thereof”. (Lev. XXV, V, X)

The bell was once placed in the steeple of the Pennsylvania State House, which is now known as Independence Hall, in Philadelphia. Originally constructed as the Pennsylvania State House, Independence Hall is the location where the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were debated and signed.

In 1751, there was a bell ordered from London which cracked upon the first test ring. It was melted down and recast into a new bell in 1753, weighing 2,080 pounds.

There was a narrow split that developed in the bell in the 1840’s which was followed by a repair effort in 1846. This repair job actually created the well-known wider crack. There was a second crack which then silenced the bell.

During the late 1800’s the bell began to travel across the country to serve as a display at expositions, fairs and such.

On June 17th, 1903, the Liberty Bell was displayed in Boston, on the occasion of the 128th Anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill.

The Battle of Bunker Hill took place on June 17, 1775, during the siege of Boston in the early stages of the American Revolutionary War. It is named after Bunker Hill in Charlestown, Mass.

On June 13th, the leaders of the colonial forces learned that the British were planning to send troops into Charlestown. In response, 1200 Colonial troops under the command of Col. William Prescott quickly occupied Bunker Hill on the north end of the peninsula (across Boston Harbor to the north) and Breed’s Hill closer to Boston. By the morning of the 16th, they had constructed a strong redoubt on Breed’s Hill. The next day, the British army under General William Howe, supported by Royal Navy warships, attacked the colonial defenses. The British troops moved up Breed’s Hill in perfect battle formations. One of the commanders of the improvised garrison, William Prescott, allegedly encouraged his men “not fire until you see the whites of their eyes.”

The colonists retreated to Cambridge over Bunker Hill, leaving the British in control of Charlestown but still besieged in Boston. The battle was a tactical victory for the British, but it proved to be a sobering experience, involving more than twice the casualties than the Americans. The estimated total of forces were 2400 for the Americans and 3000 for the British. With estimated casualties of 450 (115 killed, 305 wounded and 30 missing or captured) for the Americans and 1054 (226 killed and 828 wounded) for the British.

In the present day, the original Liberty Bell is located at the Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia, in the Liberty Bell Center. There was a Centennial Bell made for the nation’s 100th Birthday in 1876, weighing 13,000 pounds, which still rings every hour in the tower of Independence Hall–each thousand pounds represent an original state.

Until next time…



The American Battlefield Trust Sites. Bunker Hill, Breed’s Hill, Revolutionary War, 2019, war/battles/bunker-hill. Accessed 1 July 2019.

The National Park Service Site. Independence, National Historical Park, Pennsylvania, 2019, Accessed 3 July 2019.


The Liberty Bell Independence Hall Philadelphia; Souvenir on the Bell’s Journey to Boston, June 17th, 1903; Compliments of the City of Philadelphia; Compiled for distribution in connection with the One Hundred and Twenty-
eighth Anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill. Within above booklet: “The Liberty Bell” by Charles S. Keyser, 1901; Dunlap Printing Co., Philadelphia.

One Postcard Saturdays – Revere Beach

Revere Beach, Massachusetts, was home to one of the largest roller coasters in the US, from 1925 to 1969, called The Cyclone. It was a wooden coaster, saw speeds of up to 50 miles per hour and had peaks of up to 100 feet high.

Known as “America’s First Public Beach”, Revere Beach is located about five miles north of Boston. This area was originally settled in 1630 as a farming village known as Rumney Marsh.

From 1900 until 1988, Revere Beach was well known for its Big Band music and dance pavilions. In addition, the area had several rides, movie theaters, hotels, restaurants and special attractions. Visitors would come from all over the world.

My featured postcard is of “The Shelter”, Revere Beach, Mass. I am unsure of the publisher but there is a number listed in the top left corner of the front side: S 54 and this postcard was printed in Germany.

This card was postmarked in 1909 from Revere, Mass., and was sent to Aunt Etta (Mrs. William Hooper) in Franklin, Mass. It was signed by “Maybel”, which I believe would be Mabel (Dollof) James, wife of William James (brother to Aunt Etta), they resided on Cleveland St., in the Hyde Park section of Boston.

The message on the postcard reads:

Dear Brother and Sister,
Alice and I are at the beach to day and having a fine time. With Love, Maybel

Since I know that William and Mabel had a daughter named Alice, I would think that the message is referring to said daughter. Once again, in future blogs I hope to explore this family further.

As for Revere Beach, it is still a public beach with restaurants, high-rise condo’s and single family homes. All the ride attractions have long since been removed.

Until next time…

Reference Material

Website:; Accessed 05 March 2019.

One Postcard Saturdays – Hallett House

My featured postcard for today’s “One Postcard Saturdays” serial was sent to Aunt Etta by her Cousin Allie White, postmarked from Hyannisport, Mass., in 1905. Because I am still working on tying up all the loose ends to the James Family research, I will need to do a little digging in order to correctly identify “Allie”. She may be connected to the Moore side instead of the James. That research will have to wait for another day.

The Hallett House was a popular hotel located on Cape Cod, in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts. It was built in 1872 at a cost of $30,000.

The hotel building could hold up to 100 guests and was four-stories high with on-site bowling, billiards, a poolroom and dining room. It was operated by Mrs. Emily Wheldon.

On the evening of Sept. 5, 1905, Labor Day, a fire broke out in the men’s washroom and quickly spread, engulfing the building–a complete loss within an hour, estimated at $10,000 (including contents).

The fire was caused by the explosion of gasolene, stored in a room near the kitchen. According to The Standard: “one of the kitchen boys went into the storeroom where the gasolene was kept and lighted a match. An explosion immediately followed, and although the boy was uninjured, he made no attempt to extinguish the blaze but rushed from the room.”

This postcard was published by The Rotograph Co., N.Y. City, printed in Germany.

The handwritten message on the front is as follows:

Dear Cousin;
Suppose you think it funny you did not hear from me. Sent for your address but I guess Grandma forgot about it when she wrote. Mama says to send this by mail. This is the hotel which was burnt down this summer Sept. 4, 1905.
Yours lovingly,
Allie White

I do have some good ideas planned for a few more extensive posts in the near future outside of these “One Postcard Saturdays” so keep an eye for those.

Otherwise, in keeping things short and sweet today–that is a wrap.

Until next time…

Reference Material

Sheedy, Jack; Barnstable Backstories: A coincidence of Hyannis Port fires; Barnstable Patriot; Opinion article posted online February 21, 2018; Accessed 23 February 2019.

The Standard: A Weekly Insurance Newspaper; Volume LVII; July 1, 1905 to January 1, 1906; Boston, Mass.; 1906; Volume 57, Page 228;; Accessed 23 February 2019

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…


Antique Valentine Postcards

According to Wikipedia, the term for the study and collection of postcards is called deltiology.

The general focus of my blog page is to take a closer look at the large volume of postcard collections that have been passed down to me. Some of my blog posts highlight just a presentation of the cards, including this one, when I focus on a particular holiday. Other times, I take a more in-depth look at the sender and receiver and present them as a viable tool in furthering my genealogy research.

These collections have been passed down from my three leading ladies, Grandma Julia, Aunt Etta and Gra Gra. Of the three, the one I think was an actual deltiologist (a person who collects postcards as a hobby) was Aunt Etta. Her collection was much more extensive and she had many unposted cards that had been collected along the way. Whereas, those cards from Grandma Julia and Gra Gra were primarily cards sent to them by friends and family members. To learn more about my leading ladies, please see my previous blogs:

Intro to Gra Gra & Volunteering at Kent Hospital

Intro to Grandma Julia and the Bitgood’s Pine Knoll Laboratory

Intro to Aunt Etta And Her Great Adventures.

The Valentine’s Day postcards presented here, today, were some of those belonging to Grandma Julia and Aunt Etta.

My featured postcard was sent to Grandma Julia, in Plainville, Mass., by her grandson Leroy James. The reverse side is shown below:

Notice this postcard was postmarked in 1909, from Buffalo, NY. The handwritten message reads: “Dear Grandma, I am looking for a letter, are you all well. From your Grandson Leroy.” If you would like to learn more about Leroy, please see my previous blog: A Thanksgiving Greeting from 1908!

The postcard shown below was sent to Grandma Julia by her son Martin, father of Leroy. It was also postmarked in 1909 from Buffalo, NY, where they lived for a while. His handwritten message reads (to the best I can figure it): “Dear Ma, I am all most frozen, awful cold here, have written you a letter and sent you some cards and Roy a Valentine. Hope you will like them. We all send love to you and kisses. Good bye, write soon, Martie.”


The next postcard is from Mollie, wife to Martin, sent to Grandma Julia. Her card was also sent from Buffalo, NY, postmarked 1909. Her handwritten message reads: “Dear Ma, Hope you will come and see us before long. I think you would have a lovely time here, this is a nice place if you like it. I would love to see you all once more. Martin is doing all right __. Love to all from all. Kisses, Mollie.”


The postcard shown below was sent to Grandma Julia from her granddaughter Gladys, the daughter of William James. The card was postmarked in 1909, from Hyde Park, Mass. Her handwritten message reads: From your loving granddaughter, Gladys James.


The next postcard, shown below, was sent to Aunt Etta, in Franklin, Mass., postmarked in 1909, from Providence, RI. The card was signed from Levi and Frances, I am not sure whether they were friends or family members.


The next two postcards were sent from sister Sarah, who I am still working on correctly identifying. I am trying to figure out if she was married to a brother of Aunt Etta’s husband William Hooper or perhaps she was his sister. Notice in her message she asked about “Joe”, I don’t know yet who Joe was. Please see my previous blog for some background on the family of William Hooper, but it is still very much a work in progress: Don’t Jump Too Fast To Conclusions.

One of the two postcards was addressed to Mrs. Wm. T. Hooper (Aunt Etta), with handwritten message: “To Etta with Love, from Sister Sarah”. The other card was addressed to Mr. Wm. T. Hooper, with handwritten message: “To Will, from sister, have you heard anything from Joe. With Love, Sarah”. Both of these cards were mailed from Worcester, Mass. For a time, Aunt Etta and Will did live in Worcester, I think they lived with Sarah. There is more to learn about this story for future writings.



The final few postcards you will see displayed in a slideshow, below, with just the front image of the cards.

Although I haven’t written new blog posts as often as I would like, the unfortunate result of having too many irons in the fire, be assured that there are many stories yet to learn and be told–with a little help from the clues of these postcard collections. So, please keep a watch out for my future postings.

Until next time…

Better Late Than Never!

You might say that it is too late to post a New Year greeting. However, I say that it is better late than never! It was certainly my preference to post this blog about two weeks ago, but other matters took priority–sorry for the delay. At least, we are still in the month of January.

This blog posting will simply present a few New Year greeting postcards with some basic information. My hope is that I can put together something with more in-depth family exploration, in the near future.

My featured postcard “New Year Greeting” shows a verse on the front: “May the first day of the New Year be a happy one and each day after that as happy as the first day.” Shown below is the reverse side of this postcard which was sent by a Mrs. Arnzen to Aunt Etta and her husband William Hooper, in Franklin, Mass. There is no postmark. To learn more about Aunt Etta, please see my previous blog post: Intro to Aunt Etta And Her Great Adventures.



The postcard shown below “Peace and Happiness in the New Year” was sent by my grandmother’s father and step-mother (George and Susan) to Mrs. F. Henrich (Frances, mother to Susan) in Plainville, Mass. The handwritten message reads: “Happy and prosperous New Year to you from all. Sue, Geo and Tribe. Will write later.” There is no postmark. My plan is to dig deeper into the Henrich family background to share as time goes on. In the meantime, to learn a few basics you may read my previous blog: What’s in a Name, Lena Henrich?



The next postcard, shown below, was published by Raphael Tuck & Sons. The front says: “Wishing you a happy New Year.” This card was postmarked from Plainville, I think it says 1909, sent from Tillie to her sister Sue and husband George (my grandmother’s father and step-mother) in River Point (West Warwick), RI. The handwritten message reads: “I got home safe and sound. I missed my train and had to come Attleboro way. Frank (her brother) didn’t get home until Tuesday night. Best wishes for the New Year to all from all. From your loving sister. Tillie. By this message, it would seem perhaps they had bad winter weather to endure in their travels home after a Christmas visit.



The postcard “A happy New Year” shown below was printed in Germany, by Illustrated Postal Card Co., New York-Germany. This card was postmarked Dec. 31, 1907 from Newark, NJ and was sent from Gramma (Frances Henrich) to my grandmother Miss Bertha James in River Point (West Warwick), RI. This card was postmarked a second time when it was received at River Point, Jan. 1908. It appears that Frances was visiting with her family members in New Jersey during the holidays. The handwritten message reads: “Dear Bertha, Tell momma they are all asking for her, it seems a Dream to me. Lovingly (?), Gramma.” To learn more about my grandmother, Gra Gra, please read my previous blog: Intro to Gra Gra & Volunteering at Kent Hospital.



My final postcard for this blog is shown below, “Happy New Year to You”. It is a Stecher Lithograph. This card was sent to Aunt Etta, in Franklin, Mass., I think the postmark reads 1912. The sender looks to be Eda. To the best I can figure it, the handwritten message reads: “Thank you for your kindly wishes and I sincerely wish you and Mr. Hooper the brightest and happiest of New Year.”



In closing, I would like to send the same good wishes to everyone for Peace and Happiness thruout the New Year.

Until next time…

Aunt Etta’s Assorted Christmas Postcards

During the early years of the 20th Century, friend and family exchanges of postcard greetings grew to be very popular. In this blog, I have chosen a few such Christmas postcards, and one New Year greeting postcard, from an album that belonged Aunt Etta. Most of these cards were sent to her in 1909, when she and husband William Hooper were living in Franklin, Mass. To learn more about Aunt Etta, please see my previous blog post: Intro to Aunt Etta And Her Great Adventures.

My featured image postcard, with the kittens and bird, was postmarked in 1909, sent by a Cousin from Hartford, Conn. I cannot quite make out the name of the sender. The message side was written in pencil and is very hard to read; therefore, I am not posting the reverse side here.

The postcard shown below, with birds holding bell strings, was sent by friend Olive Gray, from Providence, RI in 1908.  The card itself was printed in Germany. Her message said: “We all wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. You may be far away but we still love you both.”

The “Christmas Greetings” card, with the snowy picture and holly, was sent in 1909 from Hyde Park, Mass. by niece Ethel James, daughter to Etta’s brother William. The message said: “Wishing you a Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year.”

Grandma Julia’s sister Ellen sent the “A Merry Christmas to You” card, shown below. I am unable to make out the postmark year.

The “Merry Christmas” card, lady in pink gown, was sent by nephew Charlie James, son of Etta’s brother William. It was postmarked in 1909 from Boston, Mass. His message said: “Dear Aunt Etta, I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We are all well and hope you are the same.”

The postcard shown below “A Peaceful Hearth” with the logs burning in the fireplace was sent by niece Gladys James, daughter of Etta’s brother William. The card was postmarked in 1909 from Hyde Park, Mass. The verse on the front of the cards says: “A heart where Peace has part: A hearth where joys abound: So may your hearth and heart By every Yule be found!” The message from Gladys said: “With best wishes for a Merry Xmas and Happy New Year.”

The postcard, shown below, with the gold front and flowers was sent by Etta’s brother Martin, postmarked in 1909 from Boston, Mass. His message said: “Dear Sister Etta, Just a line to wish for a Very Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year, am a going to write to you soon. Love from us all to all.”

“A Merry Christmas” postcard, with Mary and baby Jesus, was sent by nephew Leroy, son of Etta’s brother Martin. The card was postmarked in 1909 from Boston, Mass. This card was printed in Germany. The message from Leroy said: “Dear Aunt Etta, How are you all? Has Uncle Will (Etta’s husband) arrested anybody yet (he worked for the Sheriff office). Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.” To learn more about Leroy, please see my previous blog: A Thanksgiving Greeting from 1908!

Shown below will be a selection of cards with just the front sides, you can flip thru the slide show by pressing the arrow on the right side, near the bottom of each image.

In keeping with a simple theme, I have stuck to the basics for this posting in order to showcase a selection of greetings from an album which belonged Aunt Etta (Henrietta James Hooper).

Until next time…


Grandma Julia’s Christmas Postcards

Grandma Julia (Julia Ann Moore James) kept some of her most-prized postcards within an album, or two. The prize in this case was not a recognition of monetary worth but rather of her most priceless possession–her family and close friends. The same was true for Aunt Etta, daughter to Julia. However, Aunt Etta’s albums seem to be twice as thick, a sign of her times as postcards grew in popularity.

In this blog, I shall present a selection of Christmas postcards that were sent to Grandma Julia, from one of her albums. Next week, or so, I will follow with a similar selection of Christmas postcards that belonged to Aunt Etta. Finally, just prior to the holiday, I shall post a selection from my grandmother, Gra Gra’s collection. These are my three leading ladies as outlined in my Blog Intro Intro to my blog.

To learn more background on Grandma Julia, please see my previous blog post: Intro to Grandma Julia and the Bitgood’s Pine Knoll Laboratory.

Grandma Julia’s Siblings

Julia’s parents, George Martin Royal Van Buren Moore and Harriett (Daniels) Moore had eleven children: Clarissa, Harriett, Mary, Julia, Betsey, Florinda, Sarah, George, Ethan, Ellen, and Emma. In future blogs, I will do further exploration about them but make mention here, briefly, as a couple of the Christmas postcards shown below are from or about her siblings.

Grandma Julia’s Children

Grandma Julia was married to Charles Henry James and they had ten children: Harriett, William, Charles, Henrietta (Aunt Etta), Martin, Ethan, George, Charles, Byron and Frank. Again, I will explore them further in the future but wish to aid the reader when I reference the sender of the postcards that are posted below.

My featured postcard was sent by Aunt Etta and her husband William Hooper in 1909 to Grandma Julia, in Plainville, Mass. from Franklin, Mass. Here is the written side view:

There is no indication of a publisher on the featured card, but it shows that it was printed in Germany. This card has an embossed technique which adds texture to the surface.

The next postcard, shown here, “A Merry Christmas” was sent by Bertha, my grandmother “Gra Gra” to her grandmother Julia.  It reads: “Dear Grandma, I wish you a very very very Happy Christmas Day. Bushels of love from your granddaughter, Bertha.”

Gra Gra was 17 years old at the time she sent this card.

This card was made in Germany and was postmarked in 1908, from Arctic (West Warwick), Rhode Island to Plainville, Mass.

This is one of only a few cards in this selection that is not embossed.

Shown below is the written side.

The next two postcards shown are embossed style and say on the front “A Merry Christmas”. Each card was sent or given to Julia by her sister Emma, on two different years. There is no postmark appearing on the cards so I am uncertain of the date. One card reads: “We wish you all a Merry Xmas. To Julia from sister Emma.” The second card reads: “With much love to all. From sister Emma, sister Julia.”

And here is the reverse side of these two cards:

The postcard displayed here, “Christmas Wishes, To Greet You” was sent to Grandma Julia by her sister Ellen.

The postmark on this postcard was from Westwood, Mass., sent to Julia at 69 King St., in Franklin, Mass. The year is not readable, but I think it is 1913 as that is the street address which matches another card sent from someone else in the same year.

The written side of this postcard reads: “Dear sister and brother (Julia’s brother Ethan) – A Merry Christmas to you both – Lovingly – sister Ellen.”

The publisher of the card was B.B. London, printed in Germany.

Below is the reverse side:

The next few images are actually from a regular folding-style Christmas card, not a postcard. It was found inside of Grandma Julia’s album along with the other postcards.

This card is just beautiful, very unique I would say. The front cover says “A Merry Christmas”. The next page is a signature page, with verse: “To wish you every Happiness” and is written to “Mother” from “May and Will”. This would be Julia’s son William and his wife Mabel “May” (Dollof) James. The following page of this card has a very nice verse on it:

The verse inside reads as follows:

Christmas is here,

and with all my heart,

I send you a

greeting rhyme,

For upon your face

shines the tender grace,

Of a dear old

by-gone time,

So for old sake’s sake

take my words of cheer

And my warmest wish

for a bright New Year.

The embossed postcard shown below “A Merry Christmas” with Santa driving the old car was published by H.I. Robbins, Boston and Copyright in 1907. The card was sent in 1908 to Grandma Julia, in Plainville, Mass., by Dewey, from Hyde Park, Mass. He was a son of William and May (Mabel). The written side reads: “Best wishes for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Dear Grandma, from Dewey.”

The next three postcards were sent from grandson Leroy James. To learn more about Leroy, please see my previous blog: A Thanksgiving Greeting from 1908!

This embossed postcard, Santa walking with the polar bears, was postmarked in 1911 from Boston, Mass., and was sent to Julia in Franklin, Mass., in care of W.T. Hooper (Aunt Etta’s house).

It reads: “Hurry up Grandma. Santa Claus is waiting for you, put on your old gray bonnett. With love from your grandson Leroy James.

At the time he sent this card, Leroy was 14 years old.

Below is shown the reverse side with his written message.

On the front of “A Merry Christmas” card, shown below, is a girl pulling a sled with a little “rider”. This card was postmarked in 1912 from Boston, Mass., and was sent to Julia, in Franklin, Mass. It reads: “Dear Grandma, I hope you will have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and I hope you will get lots of presents from Santa Claus. From your loving grand child, Leroy James.”

At the age of 16, in 1913, Leroy would send Grandma Julia a final Christmas postcard. On the front side of the card it says “Season’s Greetings” and shows a lady, in a lovely purple dress, sitting within a wreath. There is glitter attached to the front.

This card was published by the National Art Company and Copyright 1906. It was postmarked from Boston, Mass., and addressed to Julia at 69 King Street, in Franklin, Mass. It was via the message on this card, from Leroy, that I was able to learn that the “brother” referred to by sister Ellen on her postcard (shown earlier in this blog) was actually Julia’s brother Ethan.

This is the message written by Leroy in 1913: “Dear Grandma, We had a lovely Thanksgiving with Aunt Etta and Uncle Will but I was sorry you were not here but we will make up for it at Christmas time with love to Uncle Ethan and a big share for yourself. From your loving grandson, Leroy James.”

Shown here below are the reverse sides of Leroy’s cards from 1912 and 1913.

 It is sad to think about, but both Leroy and Grandma Julia died within the next year, in 1914.

The following two postcards shown here below (just the front sides) are both embossed style. I believe they were sent to Julia from friends. The card shown on the right, has no postmark and reads: “With the Season’s Greetings. Mrs. Stewart.” The card on the left, is postmarked 1910 from Plainville, Mass. and it just has initials signed: “S.S.”

Finally, my last two postcards displayed below (again, just the front sides) have no writing, no postmarks but I thought they were nice cards to show. Both of these cards are embossed. The card, on the left, says on front “Bright be your Christmas” and was made in Germany.

So, there you have it, a few select postcards from Christmas past, during the very early 1900’s, by way of Grandma Julia’s album.

Until next time…

Intro to Aunt Etta And Her Great Adventures

My family has a long line of strong, independent-minded women and Henrietta Jane James was certainly one of them. By studying many of her postcard correspondence, I have learned she had a spark for adventure. Being the sister of my great-grandfather, Aunt Etta was actually my great great Aunt. She was born in Providence, Rhode Island on April 17, 1861 and lived to the age of 82, dying on April 24, 1943. She was one of ten children (siblings listed toward the end of this piece) born to Charles Henry James (1824-1892) and Julia Ann (Moore) James (1836-1914).

Learn more about Etta’s mother Julia (Grandma Julia) in blog post: Intro to Grandma Julia and the Bitgood’s Pine Knoll Laboratory

The earliest picture that I have found of Aunt Etta is shown here to the right, it is a tintype photo. Most likely, this picture dates to the mid-1870’s which would be her teen years.

At the age of 17, Henrietta was married to William T. Hooper on July 10, 1878. He was born about 1860 and died in 1932. According to the 1930 Census, William was living on Peck Street in Franklin, Mass., where he and Aunt Etta had lived for many years. He was still working as Deputy Sheriff for the District Court in Franklin. For some reason, on this 1930 Census, Aunt Etta was actually living on Spring Street, in Franklin, as a “lodger” in the home of Francis and Beatrice MacDonald. In the near future, I may find some clarity on this–were they separated, or perhaps she a caregiver of some kind? Over the years, Aunt Etta had lived in other places including at St. John’s Parish in Providence and for a time in Worcester, Mass.

This photo with bikes, to the left, was taken of Aunt Etta with her husband Bill around 1900 which would make her close to 40 years old at the time.

She and William had two children, both of whom tragically died early on: Ethel May was born on December 14, 1879 and sadly drowned on May 31, 1884; Irene was born on July 4, 1885 and died nine-months later on April 1, 1886.

There are two pair of shoes that belonged to Ethel May that have been passed down to me via my grandmother (Gra Gra). It seems that I remember my grandmother mentioning that someone in the family was a shoemaker that made them. These baby shoes were made in 1879 and 1881 and are pictured below.

The photo below was taken in 1913 with Aunt Etta wearing the print dress at age 52 and her husband Bill on the left in the picture. The other ladies I believe to be nieces, I am working on getting better able to specifically identify them. From the expression on her face, one can only wonder what she was thinking at the time.

In time, Aunt Etta became involved in organizations, one of those was the Women’s Relief Corps (WRC) which was the official Auxiliary to the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR). The group of pictures shown below are from a very small luncheon brochure from 1926 that has been passed down that belonged to Aunt Etta, the last page of the brochure shows the symbol for the WRC.

The GAR, sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, was founded in Decatur, Ill. in 1866 by Benjamin F. Stephenson and disbanded in the late 1970’s. The membership was limited to honorably discharged veterans of the Union Army, Navy, Marine Corps or the Revenue Cutter Service who had served from 1861-1865. The GAR held Annual Encampments with the final one being held in 1949, in Indianapolis, Ind.

The 49th National Annual Encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic was held September 27th thru October 2nd, 1915, in Washington, DC. There is a postcard pictured below that Aunt Etta had sent to my grandmother (Gra Gra) on Friday, September 24, 1915. She noted, “I leave Boston Sunday morning, (September 26th) at 9 o’clock for Washington, DC with the Grand Army”. At this time, Aunt Etta would have been 54 years old.

The Annual Encampment, in 1915, recognized the 50th Anniversary of the Grand Review when in 1865 the Union Civil War Armies marched down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC. This event in 1915 was to be a reproduction of the original Grand Review and included a parade which passed by President Wilson and cabinet members. Many aging Veterans participated in this march for the last time. Some of this information was found from a historical newspaper article that appeared in the Herald Democrat dated July 6, 1915 that had been published in advance of the event.

My featured postcard at the top of the blog is of the Tea Room at the Sweet Heart Inn, Shelburne Falls, Mass. This 1920’s postcard was from The Albertype Co., of Brooklyn, NY.

According to “The History and Tradition of Shelburne, Mass.” the Sweet Heart Inn was built in 1914. Later, more seating and foods were added and it became the Sweet Heart Tea House. Alice Brown made heart-shaped molded candy from maple sugar called “Maple Sweethearts”.

Living in New England, the fall season becomes a brilliance of color with the changing foliage. Even in the present day, we enjoy a beautiful fall ride along the Mohawk Trail, also known as Route 2, in the northwest section of Massachusetts. And so it was the opportunity for such an adventure, perhaps, that in 1922 on October 14th and 15th, Aunt Etta took a fall automobile ride which would include the Mohawk Trail. According to Aunt Etta’s budget list, one of their stops was for dinner at the Sweet Heart Inn. One of the other images shows the list of towns they visited: “going through” and “Returning through Mohawk Trail”. Their journey began in Worcester and went as far as North Adams, having gone through the Berkshires. Aunt Etta, age 61 at the time of the trip and is standing in front of the auto wearing the dark-colored hat and lighter colored dress in the front row along with her traveling companions.




One of the pictures above (with the little roof) is of the “well at Jacob’s Ladder” which would have been on the first part of their journey, the “going through” section of her travel list. The picture would have been from the Jacob’s Ladder Trail Scenic Byway, part of what is also known as Route 20, as they went through the towns of Chester and Lee. This trail opened in 1910 for the new “horseless carriages” and there was a 100-year celebration held in 2010.

As I will explore some of the family interactions via postcard correspondence in future blogs, it will be helpful for me to provide some genealogical information here and make additions to it along the way. The following list will show the siblings of Aunt Etta and their spouses, I will save listing any offspring for future writings:

  • Harriett Ann James was born in Dighton, Mass., on November 12, 1854. She married William J. Young (born 1858) on July 4, 1878 and in the 1880 Census they were living in Providence and William was listed as a Jeweler. Harriett died of childbirth on December 8, 1893.
  • William Henry James was born in Dighton, Mass., on November 4, 1856. He married Mabel A. Dollof on December 25, 1877, in Providence.
  • Charles Edward James was born in Providence, RI on February 10, 1859 and died July 13, 1861.
  • Martin Royal VanBuren James was born in Walpole, Mass., on May 22, 1864. He married Mary (Mollie) J. Pease on November 20, 1895 in Boston, Mass. 
  • Ethan Allan James was born in Providence on November 25, 1866. He married Jennie Taylor in Conn. He died on November 6, 1928 at Backus Hospital, in Norwich, Conn. They are both buried at River Bend Cemetery, in Westerly, RI.
  • George Lang Parkhurst James (my great-grandfather) was born in Providence on February 25, 1869 and died March 15, 1926. He married first to Martha Ella Carr in 1890 and second to Susan Mary Henrich, from Plainville, Mass., on October 12, 1899.
  • Charles Frederick James was born in Providence on December 27, 1870 and died on September 7, 1871.
  • Byron Madison James was born in Providence on September 23, 1874. He married (unknown name at this time) and divorced. He was said to have disappeared for twenty years and died about 1935 near Schenectady, New York.
  • Frank Daniel James was born in Providence on November 29, 1876 and died on June 5, 1883.

The picture, just above, with Aunt Etta standing on the right with the man sitting who I think is her brother Ethan Allan, not her husband. I may be able to make a better determination in the near future.

We will learn more about Aunt Etta together in future blogs.

The picture you see here to the left is probably one of the last ones taken of her, so it is most likely from the 1940’s.

My mother used to mention Aunt Etta from time-to-time since she was fortunate enough to know her in person. By reading her extensive collection of postcards, in part at least at this point, I have grown to know her better and find her fascinating.

For myself, and for those that may choose to read my blog, I look forward to learning and sharing more about her life, as well as, her extended family.

Until next time…