• 30°

Simple letter has complex history

By By Leada Gore, Editor
Louise Cox of Hartselle was happy when she received an Easter card from her niece in California. It was a sweet gesture and featured an antique-looking piece of artwork on the front. The artwork turned out to be a postcard affixed to a larger card. The postcard featured a water-colored drawing with sweet baby chicks and eggs.
A little investigation revealed something more interesting about her niece’s card.
When Cox peeled up the back of the postcard, she saw that it contained writing and a barely legible postmark. The card was affixed with a 1-cent stamp, an obvious sign of age. The postmark wasn’t very clear but appears to say either 1910 or 1916.
The postcard was sent to Miss Grace Kollock, Kennebunk, Maine. No street address, no other information, though apparently that was all that was needed for the letter to find its recipient back then.
The handwriting is small and cramped, though fairly readable.
I received your (illegible). Should have written before. I have had bronchitis. I have been knocked out all winter. First one thing then another. I would like to come down soon. We send love to all from all and will write soon.”
It’s signed simply, “Grandma.”
The postcard was manufactured by Raphael Tuck and Sons and bears the slogan “Art Publishers to their Majesties the King and Queen.” That slogan caught Cox’s attention and led her to investigate the manufacturers.
It turns out Raphael Tuck and Sons are among the more collectible types of postcards. They started printing back in the mid- 1800s and, in 1893, were granted a commission by Queen Victoria. They later opened offices in Paris and New York, though most of their records and original artwork were destroyed in the bombing raids of World War II.
The postcard remains in good condition, considering the long road it has obviously traveled. And it would be a fascinating story to know how this postcard, made in Europe, made its way to the US at the turn of the century, was purchased by a grandmother who sent it to her granddaughter.
Then, some 100 years later, sent to an aunt in Hartselle from her niece in California.
If only the postcard could talk. One can only imagine the stories it would tell.