‘My husband hasn't been feeling good for a few days. How is yours?’

Barbara Dyer: Postcards and the way we communicated 100 years ago

Tue, 11/29/2016 - 5:15pm

In the early 1900s, we were fortunate not to have telephones, automobiles, etc. Maybe you can't imagine why but there is one good reason. In spite of the fact that we love our telephones and automobiles, people had no easy way to communicate with one another, so they did it by postcards. The postage was only a penny, two cents if in an envelope. It was cheaper than a letter and you did not have to write so much. For about 15 years, I collected old Camden postcards, and learned a lot abut them.

More valuable are actual photographs, especially when the building has long since been demolished. The least valuable ones are what is called “linen” cards (that have lines through them like linen material).

Cards like Tuck and Ellen Clapsaddle are more valuable.

By reading the messages, I hoped to see information about the picture, but it would read: “My husband hasn't been feeling good for a few days. How is yours?”

I really was excited when I found one of the Mt. Battie House on the top of our Mt. Battie which read, “We enjoyed coming to this hotel and had a fish dinner.”

I do not believe the price of the dinner was even $2, but I have been told that a glass of water was five cents. It was well worth that when you think of trying to get all needed things up to the top, near where the Tower is today, by using the old carriage road with horse and buggy that was located part way up from Mountain Street, as the present, convenient road was not built from Atlantic Highway until 1964.

Many sent postcards for Christmas, and every holiday. A Happy New Year card is more valuable if the postmark is stamped January 1. Also, there were cards sent for Easter, Christmas, Washington's Birthday, birthdays, St. Patrick's Day, Thanksgiving, advertising,and humorous ones. Most places had pictures of their public buildings, churches, hotels, boat building and even some interior pictures.

There were cards with folding pictures of interest in their town or city and sometimes as many as 30 postcards were folded within them. As well as card stock post cards, there were some made of aluminum, copper and leather. One that I have was made by “CARD OF WOOD” and is handmade from two pieces of veneer from an Oregon Myrtle with a picture of the tree on front.

People bought the “souvenir folders” to send to friends or just to keep them. Many of the cards were never sent, but it was a hobby to collect postcards both bought and received. We have saved history that way, and there are many postcard collectors today of the cards collected in the early 1900s.

If you are interested in postcards of Camden, the Walsh History Center at the Camden Public Library have mine and also a collection from Betty Frost, who sold them and gave the CPL hers when she left Camden.

It is very interesting to peruse them,all arranged in archival albums.

Barbara F. Dyer has lived in Camden all of her life, so far.


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Another new year

Trolley transportation

More shipwrecks

The burning of the Annie L.

The demise of a Camden-built vessel

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Building wooden boats in Camden, many years ago

The Hub of Camden

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The first years of the Camden Snow Bowl

Snow Bowl

Launching ‘Whimsey’

The many moods of Camden Harbor

Demise of the Camden steamboat wharf

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Windjammer cruises in Camden

Memorial Day remembrances