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Posts Tagged ‘postcards’

contributed by Samantha Hurst, Kent State University graduate student in the Master of Library and Information Science program.

This spring semester, I was fortunate to be able to intern for CCHP. I had the opportunity to work on a variety of digital projects that I was able to contribute to from home. One of these was creating metadata for pieces in the David P. Campbell Postcard Collection. I got to work on the cards in the category “Interesting Messages, Handwriting” which feature cards with handwritten messages on the back that the original collector, Dr. Campbell, found unique. While pouring over these cards and trying to decipher every scrawled cursive letter, I found myself getting lost in their messages, in the wording and other ways in which people chose to express themselves within the confines of a 3×5-inch piece of paper, as well as the imagined meanings in between the lines, the words left unsaid. A few in particular stood out to me:

One card from 1958 carries a message written in a spiral instead of from left to right. The words look like a vortex swirling in on itself, with the text reading “Phil, this is how things have been going the past two days.” The author seems to be alluding to the feeling of being in New York City, which she describes as being nothing like the tranquil scene of Central Park depicted on the front of the card. 

A postcard view of Fifth Ave. hotels from Central Park in New York City. The buildings in the background are reflected in a stream in the foreground. There is also a stone bridge over the water and people walking through the park. The logo of the Center for the History of Psychology appears in the bottom right corner.
Front of a 1958 postcard of New York City from the David P. Campbell Postcard Collection (Interesting Messages, Handwriting binder, IntMsgHwrtg_002)
Back of a postcard with a handwritten message in blue ink written in a spiral that reads: "Phil, This is the way things have been going the past two days. New York is definitely an unbelievable place - characters like you've never seen. The tranquil scene on the other side is very disillusioning - It Ain't that way!!! Saw Man of La Mancha tonight, GREAT! Take care, Sue." Postcard is stamped as sent from New York on April 16, 1958 and featured a 5 cent US stamp with George Washington's image. Logo of the Center for the History of Psychology appears in the bottom right corner.
Back of 1958 postcard of New York City from the David P. Campbell Postcard Collection. Personal address removed (Interesting Messages, Handwriting binder, IntMsgHwrtg_002)

One card written in 1978 feels like it was taken from the middle of an argument, with the writer, Sue saying: “It isn’t I don’t have the time. I just don’t think that I have the mental ability to make decisions.” She goes on to talk about her husband falling and hurting his back in the bath tub the day before, but somehow I feel like her husband’s back is the least of Sue’s problems.

A postcard view of a framed painting depicting Roman ruins. The Colosseum is visible in the background of the image and pillars from the Roman Forum are in the foreground. A group of six people in robes appear to be lounging at the base of the pillars. Logo of the Center for the History of Psychology appears in the bottom left corner.
Front of a 1978 postcard of a painting titled “Roman Ruins” by Pannini from the David P. Campbell Postcard Collection (Interesting Messages, Handwriting binder, IntMsgHwrtg_006)
 Back of a postcard with typed message that reads: "9-11-78 Dear Mary: it isn't I don't have the time. I just don't think that I have the mental ability to make decisions. Al sprained his back getting out of the bath tub yesterday. Spent most or the day with a heating pad on his back. He doesn't seem much better today. Love, Sue." The card is labelled as "Roman Ruins by Pannini (1691-1764) One of the Views at Grand Trianon, Colorado Springs, Colorado Photograph by Orin Sealy, The Denver Post." It is stamped as having been posted from Colorado in September 1978 and featured a 10 cent US stamp with an image of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in DC. Logo of the Center for the History of Psychology appears in the bottom right.
Back of a 1978 postcard of a painting titled “Roman Ruins” by Pannini from the David P. Campbell Postcard Collection. Personal address removed (Interesting Messages, Handwriting binder, IntMsgHwrtg_006)

Another card, written in 1917, during the height of World War One, is written by a young man to his uncle, telling him that he’s joined the Navy, saying “[I] like it fine. I eat on the ground and do my own washing. It is a new experience.” A synopsis of Navy life during that period that I have to imagine is leaving out some less savory details.

Front of a postcard featuring a sepia toned photograph of a large group of young men in Naval uniforms hanging off the back of a train and waving with their white hats. Caption in the bottom left corner reads "We're off." Logo of the Center for the History of Psychology appears in the top right corner.
Front of a 1917 postcard featuring a group of men heading to war from the David P. Campbell Postcard Collection. Personal address removed (Interesting Messages, Handwriting binder, IntMsgHwrtg_033)
Back of a postcard with handwritten text that reads: "address Great Lakes T.S. Camp Paul Jones Co 14, Reg 3, Bat. Dear Uncle, Have joined U.S. Navy. Like it fine. I eat on the ground and do my own washing. It is a new experience . There is no question but what will lick the Germans. Densel." The postcard is stamped as having been sent from Illinois on September 14, 1917 and featured a green 1 cent US stamp. The logo of the Center for the History of Psychology appears in the bottom right corner.
Back of a 1917 postcard featuring a group of men heading to war from the David P. Campbell Postcard Collection (Interesting Messages, Handwriting binder, IntMsgHwrtg_033)

One of my favorite postcards might be the one that I found the most confounding. A card in which the message on the back simply reads “nothing at all to say” signed “PAT.” A message carrying virtually no meaning to anyone other than perhaps Clarence Korn, who received the card in January of 1915.

Front of a postcard featuring a blue and white cartoon of a young boy sitting on the floor and writing a post card. Beside him is a stool, a cat, an ink well, and a candle. Text printed on the card reads: "To owe von's frendt a ledder Doesn't seem Xactly rite, So dis dainty liddle post card I'm sending you tonight." The logo of the Center for the History of Psychology appears in the bottom right corner.
Front of a 1915 cartoon postcard from the David P. Campbell Postcard Collection (Interesting Messages, Handwriting binder, IntMsgHwrtg_057)
Back of a postcard with handwritten text written sideways on the card that reads "Nothing at all to say PAT." The postcard is stamped as having been mailed on January 16, 1916 and features a green 1 cent US stamp. The logo of the Center for the History of Psychology appears in the bottom right corner.
Back of a 1915 cartoon postcard from the David P. Campbell Postcard Collection Personal address removed (Interesting Messages, Handwriting binder, IntMsgHwrtg_057)

Written on a simple black and white card, the front image depicting a cartoon of a child writing a post card and a short poem expressing the feeling of wanting to send a postcard to a friend when a letter isn’t necessary. Virtually everything about this postcard feels completely superfluous in a way that genuinely took me aback when I first saw it. Pat seems to have just sent Clarence a postcard about writing a postcard with no other message beyond “here is a postcard.” Was there some secret meaning to this act? Was there a private joke between the two of them? Was this card in response to something Clarence said or did to Pat? It reminded me of the act of sending a friend a random picture with no explanation, or even the now seemingly ancient Facebook “poke” function, designed to get your friend’s attention for no specific reason. All just random acts that say “I may not have anything to say, but I still want you to know I’m here.”

These postcards are so fascinating to me because they are essentially just pieces of paper, designed for advertising more than anything else, but they have the power to contain such heavy sentiment in such a small space. Although the full contexts of all of these messages have been lost to history, the feelings that they evoke are extremely familiar. We often think of people from the past as being very different from us, but if nothing else, the David P. Campbell Postcard Collection can teach us that in some ways, people never seem to change. The way we talk to friends and family can often be humorous or contentious. We often leave out the more painful details in order to spare someone’s feelings, or keep loved ones from worrying. We often don’t have anything particularly important to say, but want to keep in touch with people anyway, just for the sake of it.

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-contribué par Dr. Jodi Kearns (IHSC Director) et Mme. Lisa Ong (Copley High School AP French Teacher); avec des remerciements particuliers aux University of Akron student Kristie Zachar (French minor) & UA grad Nicole Orchosky (former CHS AP French student).

Au printemps 2020, l’Institute for Human Science & Culture a demandé à la classe de Français AP de Copley High School de l’aide à traduire des cartes postales francophones qui appartiennent à la David P. Campbell Postcard Collection.

During Spring 2020, the Institute for Human Science & Culture asked the AP French class at Copley High School for some help translating French-language postcards from the David P. Campbell Postcard Collection.

Certaines cartes postales ont une légende.

Some postcards have French captions printed on them that the students translated.

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an example of a postcard with a French poem printed on the card

Et certaines possèdent un message écrit à la main par l’expéditeur.

And some postcards have hand-written messages from the sender.

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an example of a hand-written French-language message on a postcard

Les étudiants passaient du temps à récrire ce qu’ils voyaient dans l’écriture ancienne de cent ans et puis à traduire ce qui a été écrit.

The AP French students found it useful to rewrite what they were seeing in the 100-year-old handwriting before translating what was written.

An AP French student’s notes. First, the message on the postcard is rewritten in her own hand; then, the message is translated.

C’était une vraie épreuve de leurs connaissances de la langue française de trouver un sens aux traductions littérales

This exercise was a true test of their French-language knowledge to find meaning in literal translations.

Allez au blog de l’institut pour lire des traductions et des réactions personnelles.

Hop on over to the Institute’s blog to read some of the translations and personal reactions.

The students’ work will be integrated into the Cummings Center digital repository of postcards. Merci Mme. Ong!

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contributed by Dr. Jodi Kearns & Dr. Hillary Nunn.

Did you know that the Institute for Human Science and Culture publishes a second blog for the Cummings Center? The IHSC blog showcases student writing and observations from the IHSC collections.

This semester, our Museums and Archives Studies students, again had the chance to spend some time in the David P. Campbell Postcard Collection.

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The IHSC 4th Floor Library features the David P. Campbell Postcard Collection

The students wrote metadata for a set of postcards sorted into a binder labelled Dreams, adding to our growing digital repository and providing access to a collection that is otherwise available in-person only with limited hours.

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The “Dreams” postcard binder is one of over one hundred subsets of the David P. Campbell Postcard Collection that were organized and categorized by the donor.

Have a look at the interesting things the students discovered in their postcards and metadata:

Is That Woman Dead?

Disney, Spanish, and a Postcard Addiction

The Universal Language

The Music Man in the Mail: the Story Behind the Art

The Divine at Work

Spirit Photography on a Postcard

You May Say I’m a Dreamer

Viewing the Past in Living Color

Postcard Adventure…and Believe Me, This Has Been an Adventure

Gone but Not Forgotten

Paul Fink, Berlin

Additionally, Dr. Amy Galloway of Appalachian State University reached out to us this past summer for service learning opportunities for her History of Psychology students. One student, Ballard Reynolds, wrote metadata for 90 of the Dreams postcards and wrote a blog about some observations: The Interpretation of Dreams Postcards.

We hope you enjoy, and we please bookmark the IHSC blog for future musings.

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Contributed by Jodi Kearns & Hillary Nunn.

We went hunting in the estimated 200,000+ postcards in the David P. Campbell Postcard Collection for a Valentine to post today, and we found this card sent on New Year’s Eve 1920 and postmarked in Akron, Ohio at Firestone Park Station. What a gem!

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The message reads: “12-31-20 Hellow got to Akron seven thirty am. All well but I am sleepy. Ha Ha had the blues after I left you dont think I will get over it. How are you feeling since I left you sure miss the [illegible] but [illegible] I can [illegible] over it. good by will write tomorrow Tom

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CCHP staff have written about this postcard collection in past blogs, such as this one about women’s right to vote and this one about National Postcard Week.

The collection is so full of gems that we are co-teaching an unclass for students to investigate this postcard collection. The collection is housed primarily in binders categorized by the Dr. David Campbell. Students will be digitizing postcards in selected binders, and making them available on the digital repository. Additionally, students will be researching related topics of their choosing, which –so far– include topics such as the suffragette movement, privacy, code breaking, postmarks, transcription, and card images that don’t “match” card messages (like Tom’s Valentine postcard sent to Huldah on New Year’s Eve).

To learn more about the postcards, the unclass, and the students, please follow along with the unclass postcard project on the Institute for Human Science and Culture Blog, where students will be posting regularly. The inaugural post introduces the project: In an Unclass of its Own.

The unclass is supported by the EXL Center. Digital Humanities in the Archives is taught in the English Department and hosted at the Cummings Center.

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~ contributed by Jodi Kearns

I am so happy to be able to vote in the 2016 election! My first US federal election was 2012, after naturalizing in 2010. The 2012 and 2016 elections are historical for reasons we all know. I do not take for granted that one hundred years ago my American sisters-in-arms were still fighting for this very right.

After encountering a blog about century-old propaganda postcards against women voting, I wondered if the Cummings Center had any of its own in the David P. Campbell Postcard Collection.

Yes.

[Note: Two days after writing this, I encountered another similar story that shows many of these same postcards you’re about to see.]

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These postcards seem to be warning that henpecked and browbeaten men will be forced to look after children, clean house, and do laundry once women can vote: the victims of women’s suffrage. Women are warned about trouble with the law, being unmarriable, and becoming plain-looking [Gasp!].

Women’s Suffrage Postcards from 1900s & 1910s from David P. Campbell Postcard Collection [Click the thumbnails to view.] 

The collection does have a few pro-women’s rights gems, although -honestly- sometimes it’s difficult to tell.

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Her hero is campaigning for women’s voting rights, though Cupid seems a little sad.

And postcards celebrating Suffragettes’ victories!

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Way to go, Colorado!

It seems feminists have been saying for some time that voting rights are about equality, not domination -rhetoric I still hear.

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A message endorsed and approved by the National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1910

Be inspired! I am.

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A hundred-year walk from the Capitol to the White House

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Contributed by Rhonda Rinehart.

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What’s the connection between the Center for the History of Psychology and National Postcard Week? Well, about 200,000 postcards donated to the CHP. In honor of National Postcard Week and Dr. David P. Campbell who donated his collection of postcards to CHP, we are taking you on a behind-the-scenes tour of this vast collection of postcards that says as much about the art and psychology of collecting as the cards themselves say about cultural history.

This vast collection has been acquired by Dr. Campbell over three decades and represents an historical look at natural and human science as well as global society and culture encompassing a variety of themes and images. These images have been used by Dr. Campbell to explore multiculturalism and increase multicultural awareness.

IMAGES FROM THE CAMPBELL PICTURE POSTCARD DECK

IMAGES FROM THE CAMPBELL PICTURE POSTCARD DECK

IMAGES FROM THE CAMPBELL PICTURE POSTCARD DECK

IMAGES FROM THE CAMPBELL PICTURE POSTCARD DECK

IMAGES FROM THE CAMPBELL PICTURE POSTCARD DECK

IMAGES FROM THE CAMPBELL PICTURE POSTCARD DECK

Last month, Dr. Campbell visited the CHP to help organize his large collection, and to get acquainted with the new space designated for the postcards. We worked hard to organize by material type, artist, theme, people, geographical place, and subject. When all was finished, CHP had 182 linear feet of postcards from the 1800s to as late as 2008, all contained in 3-ring binders or postcard boxes to be viewed and studied by all.

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A particularly interesting find among the thousands of postcards, is the Piano Playing Duck, a postcard created for Animal Behavior Enterprises, Inc. in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The image of a mallard duck turning on a light before he begins to play piano can also be seen along with animal performing props, advertisements, and manuscripts from the company right here at CHP! The Animal Behavior Enterprises collection includes many images of performing animals trained by animal psychologists Keller Breland and Marion Breland Bailey.

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As the newly-created Institute for Human Science and Culture at the CHP is launched, this collection seems even more relevant to the interconnectedness between psychology, culture, and natural science. CHP is pleased to have this representation of cultural history throughout the world as a significant contribution to the Institute.

ASYLUM POSTCARDS COMPLEMENT THE ASYLUM REPORTS COLLECTION ON PERMANENT LOAN TO THE CHP FROM CUSHING MEMORIAL LIBRARY

ASYLUM POSTCARDS COMPLEMENT THE ASYLUM REPORTS COLLECTION ON PERMANENT LOAN TO THE CHP FROM CUSHING MEMORIAL LIBRARY

ASYLUM POSTCARDS COMPLEMENT THE ASYLUM REPORTS COLLECTION ON PERMANENT LOAN TO THE CHP FROM CUSHING MEMORIAL LIBRARY

ASYLUM POSTCARDS COMPLEMENT THE ASYLUM REPORTS COLLECTION ON PERMANENT LOAN TO THE CHP FROM CUSHING MEMORIAL LIBRARY

POSTCARDS DEPICTING DREAMS

POSTCARDS DEPICTING DREAMS

POSTCARDS DEPICTING DREAMS

POSTCARDS DEPICTING DREAMS

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