Saturday, August 06, 2011

Buildings and inscriptions

These four postcards were each sent to unmarried women members of the Bergin family at their address on Canonbury Road in Jamaica, Queens. One is addressed to "Miss Mamie Bergin," the only record I have of a person bearing that name (or nickname). Paying visits, church activities, and the health of various family members were recurrent topics. The words in brackets aren't clearly legible.

"Birthplace of Ex-President Grover Cleveland, Caldwell, N. J."

Dear Teresa,

Will not get a chance to visit you until later on. Pleased to know you are well. We are doing nicely. We are going to have a fair in our church. don't you want to make a small donation and help us in this poor little country town? Love to all –


Box 14

[Dated August 5, 1907]

The Grover Cleveland Birthplace was opened to the public in 1913 and remains in operation as a museum.

"New York Hippodrome. Largest and most famous playhouse in the world"

[Postmarked January 4, 1906]

Dear Mamie,

Will not be over tomorrow as father is not well. He has been home from business since Sat.


Once advertised as the largest theatre in the world (it could reportedly accommodate 1,000 performers), the Hippodrome, located on Sixth Avenue between 43rd and 44th Streets, became a financial white elephant and was razed in 1939.

"Portland, Me., St. Dominic's Church"

Hotel Eastman
N. Conway N. H.
July 17– [1909]

This is the church we attended in Portland [Me.] L. is doing her duty you see. I have improved physically & spiritually. We are enjoying this place immensely. The [Healys?] are here. We walk and talk & read & eat and dance a little. Nothing exciting. Hope you and your sister are well. What are you doing? Won't you send me a line? [words unclear] to get letters. Mary [Routh?]

Constructed in the 1880s, St. Dominic's Roman Catholic Church was acquired by the city of Portland in 2000 and subsequently sold to the non-profit Maine Irish Heritage Center, which has continued to refurbish it.

"Main Road in Fort Totten, N. Y."

Nov 15 1909

Dear Sister,

The men went to work again so I will have to wait for another day. Joe is not very well he has a bad cold. The Doctor thinks it is the gripe so he will be home from school for a day or two. We us [sic] are all well. Love from all to all.

A. H.

[A week earlier, the same correspondent had written, intriguingly: "The men were laid off. Their man was elected. If they do not go to work this week I will be over on Saturday for the day..." Was this a municipal election or a union election, and were the men punished for the outcome?]

Constructed during the Civil War to help protect New York Harbor, Fort Totten is now owned by the City of New York and much of the property is now a public park and museum.

(The moiré patterns in the first and last of the above images are an artifact of the scanning of the original halftone prints.)

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