Christmas

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year postcard, 1910

Happy New Year postcard, postmarked 23 Dec 1910, to Miss Pearl Bracy of Bridgeport (2016-090 WHS)

I wanted to take this moment to wish everyone a Happy New Year from the Grace Schmidt Room of Local History! We’ve had a busy year and look forward to sharing our finds, discoveries and insights with you here on the blog.

Be sure to come check out our displays, book scanner and more in the GSR!

Have a safe, happy and healthy 2017!

Cheers, Karen

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Programs

History By Postcard

P009635 KPL Ahrens Street from Queen St., Berlin, Ontario

P009635 KPL View of Ahrens Street from Queen St., Berlin, Ontario

If you are like me, you love postcards – especially old ones. There’s something about the combination of a phototograph, sometimes coloured, and a personal message on the back that intrigues me. It’s a window into a time, relationship or event, that gives a hint to the larger public and personal events in the lives of our communities, ancestors and neighbours.

Reverse of P009635 KPL postcard

P009635 KPL (Reverse side) Postcard addressed to Miss Enetta Stoltz of Galt from Louis

So when did postcards come about? In 1871, pre-paid government issued postal cards were introduced in Canada. They were printed on plain card stock and included postage. The backs were exclusively reserved for addresses and the other side for message. In the days before the widespread use and availability of telephones, postal cards enabled people to communicate with quick, efficient, and low-cost exchange of short messages, without the need of fancy stationary, envelopes and postage stamps.  In large cities with multiple daily postal deliveries, recipients might receive and reply to a  card on the very day of its dispatch. For several decades, these cards were the most popular and easy way to arrange meetings, advertise products and services, place orders with merchants, and keep in touch with family and friends.

In the 1880’s, European publishing companies started including small illustrations on postcards, in conjunction with fairs and exhibitions. A new industry grew to fill the demand for these ‘private’ decorative postcards. In Canada, private postcards were accepted at a reduced postage rate of one penny starting in 1895.  As time went on, the inclusion of pictures and photographs started to dominate the production of postcards.

P009679 WHS postcard - View of Factory District, Berlin, Ontario

P009679 WHS postcard – View of Factory District, Berlin, Ontario

German companies were known for their high quality cards and illustrations and were a major player in the North American market until 1914. In Canada, companies such as James Valentine & Sons, Warwick Brothers & Rutter, W.G. MacFarlane of Toronto, Cloke and Son of Hamilton and International Stationery Co. of Picton were major publishers of postcards. Divided-back picture postcards, where the image is on the front and message and address sections on the back, were widely adopted in the early 1900s.

P009679 WHS postcard - Reverse

P009679 WHS postcard – Reverse

With the development of camera for the masses, people were able to create their own postcards using their homes, families and communities as subjects. These postcards served to document and share personal and community histories, tourism and events. The ‘golden age’ of the picture postcards was from 1900 to 1920.

P009639 KPL postcard of Picnic Grounds, Victoria Park, Berlin, Ontario

P009639 KPL postcard of Picnic Grounds, Victoria Park, Berlin, Ontario

So what do postcards say about the history of Kitchener? Local historian rych mills will tell us at his upcoming talk called “Postcards Then and Photographs Now”. Come join me on Thursday March 31st at 7pm at the Central Library as rych explores Kitchener history by postcards then and modern photographs taken by fellow history aficionado and Waterloo Historical Society member, John Glass. It’s a free talk, but registration is required. Details about the talk and registration link can be found here. You can also call InfoLink at 519-743-7502 to register during library hours. If you have Kitchener postcards, please feel free to bring them to the talk for rych to identify.

I hope to see you there!

Cheers, K.

 

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People and places

Happy Easter!

P009648 KPL Easter postcard

P009648 KPL Easter Greetings postcard, postmarked 26 March 1910, Berlin, Ontario

As spring finally makes (or rather, another) appearance, I thought that I would share this Easter postcard, which I found in the Kitchener Public Library collection in the Grace Schmidt Room. The simplicity and serenity of the images harkens back to a quieter day and age.

The reverse of the postcard also expresses simple wishes from Gertrude Totzke to Miss Enetta Stolz, who was living on Peter Street in Berlin in the spring of 1910. Enetta Stolz (or Stoltz) was likely Susannah Enetta Stoltz, born in 1 January 1882 in Wilmot. She was the daughter of Jacob F. Stoltz and Wilhelmine Gerbig. Following Jacob’s death in 1888, her mother married George Heimpel.  According to the 1911 Census of Canada, Annetta Stoltz was working as a servant in the home of Alvin and Elizabeth Cressman in Waterloo.

P009648 KPL - Reverse of postcard

P009648 KPL – Reverse of postcard

According to the Ontario Cemetery Project, Gertrude Totzke is buried at Mount Hope Cemetery in Kitchener. Her gravestone lists her life years as 1894-1911, making her almost 17 years old at the time of her death. Gertrude Elizabeth Totzke was born on 21 June 1894 in Berlin and died on 13 April 1911 at her parents’ home at 83 Church Street, of a blood disorder. Her parents were Carl Totzke and Louisa Frank.

However you celebrate this holiday weekend, we’d like to extend our best wishes for peace, health and happiness!

Cheers, Karen

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People and places

New Year Wishes

New Year Wishes postcard, 1914

P009989 KPL New Year Wishes postcard, 1914

I recently came across this New Year postcard in the collection and wanted to share it with you. I think that I am feeling nostalgic for the white Christmas that we missed this year.

The postcard was postmarked 31 December 1914. It was addressed to Miss Ina Eby, Chapel Street, Berlin. It had been sent by “Lulu”.

Reverse of New Year Wishes postcard, 1914

P009989r KPL – Reverse of New Year Wishes postcard, 1914

Ina Eby was the daughter of Ezra Eby and Mary Ann Clemmer. She was born in Bridgeport on 24 January 1884.  She had 4 brothers, Ira, Ion, Leo and Odo. According to the 1911 Census of Canada, she lived at 41 Chapel Street, Berlin with her mother and worked as a sample maker in the White Wear factory. Ina died at the age of 72, on 18 February 1956, and was buried at First Mennonite Cemetery in Kitchener.

From all of us in the Grace Schmidt Room, Best Wishes for a Happy New Year!

Cheers, K.

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Uncategorized

New Year’s Greetings from a Century Ago

P9991

P9991 New Year’s greeting postcard sent to Martha (Mrs. Ion) Eby, Berlin, postmarked 31 Dec 1913

P9991r

Reverse of P9991 New Year’s Greeting postcard sent to Martha (Mrs. Ion) Eby, Berlin

In this day and age of e-cards, Facebook and Twitter, the elegance of the handwritten word and card is often forgotten. This century old New Year’s greeting postcard reminds me of the pleasure of receiving notes by post, the thrill of recognizing familiar handwriting and a short personal message.  This card was sent from Superior, Wisconsin, USA to Berlin, ON. The 31 December 1913 postmark lets us know that it was received just in time for New Years.

The recipient was Martha (nee Polzin) Eby, wife of Ion Eby.  The Ebys resided at 25 Bingeman Street, Berlin. According to Martha’s grave at Woodland Cemetery, she died in 1939.

The reverse of the postcard is rotated below for easier reading:

Reverse of P9991 postcard

Reverse of P9991 postcard

The card reads: Many thanks for the Xmas [gift]. We are all well. Love to all from all. Yours Lizzie.

Best Wishes for a Happy, Healthy and Peaceful New Year.

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Uncategorized

Happy Holiday Wishes from the Grace Schmidt Room

P9647 P9647r

As the holidays are upon us, I wanted to share this Christmas postcard, mailed 100 years ago today, from Berlin to Galt.  It was sent by Minnie Gerbig to Enetta Stoltz of Galt.   I love its simplicity and quaint message.

From all of us in the Grace Schmidt Room, have a happy, safe, and healthy holiday season!

P.S. for those of you interested in reading the message, I’ve rotated the postcard below:

P9647r-rotated

P9647 Christmas postcard message

“Dear Enetta,

Just a line to let you know that I got to Berlin Mon Morn and will be down to Preston on Wed I think and I wish you could come to, I would like to see you very much so don’t forget wishing you a Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year.

Minnie Gerbig”

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