Weston Hall postcard, postmarked Feb. 1, 1909
Recently, former professor Jo McCormick donated this postcard to the DC Archives. I thought we had this image already, but it turns out it’s one we didn’t already own, so the gift was appreciated.
Sometimes you can learn interesting bits of social history by reading the backs of postcards. Here’s a scan of this card’s message side:
Reverse side of postcard, addressed to Mary Bone(?) of Mt. Vernon, Ohio
I’ll transcribe the writing as best I can, but some bits are hard to make out:
“Sun. P.M. Received package letter cards all O.K. Many thanks for the crackers. Something new for us. Ha! Have to give a biog. of Abe. Lincoln in Philo. Society Feb. 12. 100 yrs. since Abe was born. Have got a job out here. Jessie & I sweep the corridors and clean the bath tubs & etc. on Wed. & Sat. 75 [cents] a week. Will write more about it later. Suppose you got your fill of oysters. I am so hungry for some I can hardly stand it. It is very cold up here today. Ground covered with snow. A few sleighs on the road. Bye, [Ted & Jenny?]”
The reference to Philo. Society is the Philomathean Society, one of several literary societies run by DC students. According to this page in the 1928 Oraculum: http://memory.defiance.edu/jsp/RcWebImageViewer.jsp?doc_id=10e86788-4122-419b-a2d1-494034b9aea3/odefc000/20150521/00000001&pg_seq=53&search_doc=&query1_modifier=AND&query1=philomathean&query1_field=CONTENT
the Philo. Society was the oldest on campus, founded in 1896. It was a social club and educational outlet for students. The societies would put on programs of literary readings and musical performances, and sometimes put on competitive debates between societies. The postcard writer must have been assigned the talk about Lincoln’s life as their turn to perform as a member.
Isn’t it interesting that students worked to clean the dormitories? While current DC students have work-study jobs, they more often work for as a professor’s assistant or in the library or for maintenance, rather than performing cleaning duties.
The mention of seeing sleighs on the roads was particularly interesting. We don’t have any images in the Archives of horse and sleigh teams on campus, but apparently they existed.
The reference to craving oysters was intriguing, which led me to search the internet about why they were so popular. I found this post from Feb. 2017 from the Michigan State Univ. archaeology program about why they were a popular food in this period:
The blog says oysters in 1909 cost half the price of beef, and they were a “trendy, cheap and readily available” food.
That’s a lot of social history from one little postcard.
Lead Librarian and Coordinator of Metadata and Archives