A Prosperous New Year

A Prosperous New Year (Front)

This card, from my great-grandfather’s collection, brings tidings of the new year of 1913 to Mr. John H. Greim of 715 Dick Street in Reading, Pennsylvania, from Emma Hinline. Alas, Dick Street no longer seems to exist in Reading, probably because eighth-graders kept stealing the street signs.

To my knowledge, Mr. Greim is no relation; he was probably an associate of Great-Grandpa’s dad, James Henry Smith, and passed the card along. Mr. Greim thoughtfully put the date of receipt (12/28/1912) on the front of the card, as the postmark bears no year. He was also kind enough to fill in Emma’s surname, as she signed the card “Emma H.”

A Prosperous New Year (Back)

Emma writes that she “Received your card. My head is slowly getting better. It may be a week or two more before it is quite well.” Of course, if she had loosened her corset, the blood would have drained from her head faster.

This embossed card was printed in Germany, which is fairly common of cards in the years leading up to World War I — after which the supply from Germany dried up. Also, one must flip this card on the long end, rather than on the short end, as with cards today.

Notice that this postcard was postmarked December 27 at 3:30 PM in Nazareth, PA and, if we are to believe the notation on the front, made it 50 miles to Reading the next day. Over turn-of-the-century country roads. For one cent’s worth of postage. Note to the Postal Service: shape up.

The 1920 census notes that Mr. Greim was 40 years old, making him 32 or so in 1912. While he apparently sent a nice card to Emma, he became a little more suspicious as he grew older. In 1927 (according to the Library of Congress), he dropped a note to President Calvin Coolidge, questioning whether or not Silent Cal’s endorsement of Webster’s Dictionary was unsolicited, and whether or not there was any consideration received:

Letter from John H. Greim to Calvin Coolidge, 1927

I wonder what he had against the Webster people.

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