X is for xray and eX-Senator


"Pearl Cleage and baby Albert"
Pearl Reed Cleage and baby Albert. 1911 Indianapolis, IN

For this year’s April A-Z Challenge I am blogging everyday using items taken from the letters written by my grandfather to my grandmother from 1907 to 1912, starting with “A” and moving right through the alphabet to “Z” during April.

As I tried to figure out an X word to use for this post, I wondered if an x-ray machine was in use during 1910 when my grandfather finished medical school.  Yes, they were. Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen discovered them in 1895 and by 1910 there were various early versions of x-ray machines.  Here is a photo of Rontgen’s wife’s hand, with ring.

Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen with x-ray of wife's hand.
Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen with x-ray of wife’s hand.

Since this information was not included in one of my grandfather’s letters or cards, I am also including this postcard of the log cabin in Palmer Park, Detroit.  It was built for eX-senator Palmer and still stands.  This card was postmarked Buffalo N.Y. July 21, 1911.  My father, Albert B. Cleage Jr, was just over 1 month old.  I don’t know what the purpose of the trip was. On July 12, my grandfather sent a 1 month birthday card to my father, which was postmarked Detroit.  I remember being called “nigger” by some white children in this same log cabin one long ago summer day in Detroit while on a family outing to Palmer Park.

pc-7-21-11_0001“Log Cabin, Palmer Park, – Built on land donated to the city by Ex-Senator Thomas W. Palmer in 1893 and situated north of the city at the extreme terminal of the Woodward Avenue car line, is one of the city’s favorite breathing spots. Its center piece is a log cabin which is an exact reproduction of the home in which Senator Palmer resided when Detroit was a little more than a trading post”


Dear Pearl – I am lonesome for you and baby. Want to see you all awful bad. Hope you are well and happy.



9 thoughts on “X is for xray and eX-Senator

  1. The Swedish word for X-ray is “röntgen.” I had no idea it was from the discoverer’s name. Very cool. I love the picture of your grandmother and father, it’s very lovely. You are fortunate to have all these letter and photographs. 🙂 And I hope your memories of that cabin aren’t too tarnished by some horrid children.

    1. I have many good memories of Palmer Park. My feelings were more like, what is wrong with these kids? As opposed to a feeling of taking the insult to heart.

    1. That is my favorite part of family history – getting the everyday feel for life in a different time. Seeing the people as people like we are.

  2. Wow, such a great collection of family history. I have 5 letters my great grandmother wrote to my grandparents. I have a couple of letters between my grandmother and her sister. My 2nd cousin sent me letters her mother sent to various family members. All of them put life on a level playing field so we can learn about them. The greatest letter I have is from my grandfather to his brother when he learns about the death of his mother. It is the only one in my grandfather’s voice and the one I treasure most.

    I am sorry ugly children called you names. I’m glad you didn’t take it as an insult. It’s so stupid. My “W” entry was about my best friend who died at 15. I didn’t know there was a color difference until I was in my 30’s and figured out the family was passing as white. Then, I was really angry because they moved when they were afraid of being discovered in our all-white neighborhood. They moved to a more culturally diverse neighborhood to a house with a fireplace. Her clothing caught on fire. Although she died from the burns, it was hate that made them moved and the real cause of her death. Sorry for the long comment but I am still angry over her death and your comment being called names just fuels that anger.

    1. I read that entry. She was a beautiful girl and it’s so sad she died that way. Horrible. I wondered how the fire happened.

      Letters and photographs are my favorite resources. When they match up, even better. There is something about reading their own words that is so moving and brings them to life.

  3. That is a huge log cabin. I envy all the letters and things you have from your grandparents. I know so little about mine. You have a very interesting theme.

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