Visiting Ado

It’s been awhile since I posted about old postcards, so for those of you new to my old bloggy-wog: one of the things I have an interest in is old postcards.  I love them blank or with writing (they are two very different artifacts!).  I adore finding collections of these in antique or specialty stores and spending hours poring over them.

Old postcards with writing are especially fascinating: they are glimpses into the past.  The off-hand messages written by people (almost certainly now dead, written to people also now dead) who never expected long-distant strangers to be buying their postcards and reading the messages and pondering the lives of those in the past–it can often take my breath away.  In addition, the evolution of the postal service (and by extension, our culture at large) can be traced via how the postcards are addressed, stamped, and postmarked.  And the postcards themselves are beautiful and delightful artifacts, themselves changing in style and purpose about every two decades.

Anyway, I recently came across an enormous cache of old Harrisburg postcards at a local bookstore and my postcard interest has been renewed.  I present to you here one that I just bought today.

This postcard is from the early 1930s.  Almost anytime you see a postcard in this style–artist’s renderings in vibrant colors with a white border–they are from the ’30s.  It shows what was then the Harrisburg Educational Building (now the State Archives):


The back, postmarked August 14th, 1933 (that’s 82 years ago, folks!) in Philadelphia, and sent to Marietta, PA (a town about 30 miles from Harrisburg).  It is of interest that a Harrisburg postcard was sent from Philadelphia to a town near Harrisburg.  Elements of the address are of interest.  It was sent to:

Mrs. Frank Ziegler
Front St
Marietta Lanc Co

Of course the whole Mrs. Frank Ziegler isn’t surprising for the time, but given how the world has changed since then, it is of interest.  The street address being simply Front St with no number speaks to a much simpler time, at  least mail-wise, if nothing else.  Note the absence of a zip code.  The inclusion of the county was, I believe, even strange for the time period–I’ve never seen it before.

The text of the postcard is thus:

Monday, August 14, 1933

Dear Aunt Mabel

Dorothy and Marion are bringing Mother to Marietta to visit Mrs. Peck, so I decided since I wasn’t nursing I would like to bring Bob and myself along with them and stay all night with you then go to Quarryville on Thursday to visit Ado.  That would mean four of us staying at your house Wednesday nite.  [name I can’t read], Marion, Bob & I.  Hope it is OK, See you Wed, Mimmie


6 Responses to “Visiting Ado”

  1. Kyle Sundgren Says:

    When you shop for these, do you read them first then decide which ones are worth paying for and taking home, or do you just grab a handful of postcards you see have been written on and wait to read them at a later time? I think I would do the latter, but I don’t know the process of acquiring these.

    • sethdellinger Says:

      It’s kind of a combination of both. First the image on the front is important, and then I am interested in the date–it doesn’t necessarily have to be really old, I just want to know the date. I’ll usually read a little bit just to make sure it is legible or at least a little interesting, but I don’t usually read the whole thing. I guess I don’t really have a system, I just look through them and partially look at them haha

  2. Brian and I went to the Berlin Flea Market last week end. We found three huge boxes of postcards, and thought of you immediately. We were going to buy some, but when we ask they were too expensive. Just to let you know that we are thinking of you.

    • sethdellinger Says:

      Thank you!!! Nice to know one is being thought of. And probably best to not buy those for me anyway, you really only want to have the very specific ones you want, I don’t want to end up with thousands that I can never properly appreciate :)

  3. Cliff Dellinger Says:

    I enjoy reading your blog. Thanks.
    I remember my grandmother and my mom addressing mail and they always used the PA abbreviation Penna.
    I like the ones from the 30’s and 40’s where they take photos and have them developed as post cards.

    • sethdellinger Says:

      Thanks Cliff!!! I’m so glad you read and enjoy it. I’ve always been enamored with “Penna”, it’s so unique!

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