Friday 13 March 2015

Wish You Were Here! Postcards in the Archives

March break, which is known as one of the busiest times of the year for travel, is almost here. Many families will be packing up and escaping the cold weather for a week. Today, it is easy for travelers to keep in touch with the folks back home. Cell phones, tablets and digital cameras make it easy to send photographs and messages, and post to services like Instagram, Tumblr, Vine, and Facebook. However, it wasn't always that easy.

Back when communication wasn't instantaneous, people had to rely on the mail to keep in touch. In the mid 1800s, postcards were introduced. They provided an easy way for tourists to send a quick note to friends and family along with a memento of their journey. ARCAT holds many examples of interesting postcards:

Monsignor Clair Fonds
"Cobb at bat, Crawford up, Leonard of Boston pitching. Detroit, Mich."
Tiger Stadium, Detroit, Michigan
ca. 1913-1918

Monsignor Clair Fonds 
MN AH04.23
"Paris - L'Eglise de la Sorbonne"
Paris, France

MN AH10.95
"Lourdes - La Grotte et la Basilique"
"I find myself here in Lourdes during my holidays. I am here now nearly two weeks and I did not forget you and the clergy on retreat last week when I said mass at this celebrated shrine. I am picking up a little French also. I am stationed at Holy Cross, Thurles, and I am returning there in a few days. I do not forget my Canadian friends here and even inadvertently still say Neil in the Canon. Begging your blessing (Rev) M. O'Brien"
Lourdes, France.

MN AH 24.68
Albright Art Gallery, Buffalo, N.Y.

"Am quite at home in this city. Go from here to Adrianople when it falls. Kind remebrances to his Grace the Dr. and Pére Canning Morrow. Prier pour moi." 
Sofia, Bulgaria
This postcard was written from Sofia during the First Balkan War. The writer may be referring to the Siege of Adrianople.

Agincourt, Ontario (present day Scarborough)


Fr. Joseph Murphy First Communion Class
ca. 1912

Pope Pius XI - Souvenir of the Holy Year 1925

"I wonder when Flo & I will get down or when you will get up again. So near & yet so far. I've had my uncle Theo from Vancouver here all Fall & been pretty well rushed. Lil & family are coming down for xmas - 3 small boys & a baby girl. - I send best wishes - with love - C.H.S.

'Member the Sunday we were here to listen to the new organ?"
St. John Chrysostom Church, Newmarket, Ontario
These cards show us the places and events that were important in the lives of the people who sent them and collected them. The writers had to be brief and efficient with their words (Twitter, anyone?) to get their point across. They were a way to share a moment in time with the people who couldn't be there; we are lucky enough to be able to share the same moment a hundred years later.

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