Postcard To My Grandmother From Her Niece – 1909

This postcard was written to my grandmother, Pearl Reed, after a visit to two of her sisters in Benton Harbor, MI in 1909.  Pearl was 23 and her niece was about 15.  I wonder why she chose a picture of the Ohio Penitentiary.

Dear Pearl,
I am glad you got home and I worst (sic) you were here know (sic).
Margaret Busby

Miss Pearl Reed
2730 Kenwood
Indianapolis, Indiana

I didn’t have any castles in my photo stash, but this morning I remembered this postcard of the Ohio Penitentiary that my grandmother Pearl’s niece sent to her in 1909.  Surrounded by stone walls, like the castle below, it is my entry for Sepia Saturday 171.  I did post this in 2010 but I don’t think anyone ever saw it, so here it is again.  The Penitentiary was demolished in 1998.  To see photos of then and now – including a photograph that shows a little tower – go to Old Ohio Penitentiary.

22 thoughts on “Postcard To My Grandmother From Her Niece – 1909

  1. I think Margaret was set up…..I think your great aunts had a real sense of humour…..and dictated the choice of postcard and comment to Margaret!! You love your family visits, but its also hard work and stressful sometimes !!

    I must remember this line, I have a gaol at the end of my street !!

  2. I can see why the prompt photo reminded you of this postcard. We have to use our imaginations to find castles on this side of the world.

  3. One of the curious ideas I discovered when researching prison orchestras and bands, was that many prisons had open house days for the public. There was big effort at the beginning of the 20th century to reform penitentiaries and they wanted the local folk to see all the improvements. They also set up their own print shops to produce postcards for the inmates and the public. Someone at the house might have picked some up and Pearl’s niece used it probably without seeing the odd humor.

    1. That may be the case. Maybe the Busby’s had relatives in Columbus, OH. I’m pretty sure the 9 year old niece wasn’t trying to be funny or anything by using it.

  4. I have an elderly aunt who has an postcard album that contains cards from the early 20th century. Some of the cards are from the oddest places. For example, I remember one had a picture of a mental hospital.

  5. I think it qualifies as an ancient monument of sorts Kristin, and it was certainly fortified like a castle. Still, a curious choice for a postcard.

  6. And yet, you still manage once more to make it fit with the theme.
    How amazing how the district has changed.
    I love that archway, the last pic, they show on that post.

    Is is indeed an odd choice for a postcard,
    but who can tell what her intentions were?!?

  7. It is also interesting that the card is of an Ohio building but sent from Michigan.

    I also notice the one cent stamp. How much are stamps in US now? They are 60 cents in Australia.

    1. Stamps for a 1 oz or less first class letter are now 46 cents. They don’t even put the amount on the stamps here any more because they raise it so often. They let you use the old stamps to mail letters until they run out.

      I just checked and Columbus Ohio is 5 hours (now) from Benton Harbor Michigan. It’s about 2 hours to the state line of Ohio.

  8. I thought you said you weren’t going to have a post this week. You found a perfect postcard to go with the theme. A castle for prisoners. I looked at the link and towards the end found the photo of the “death house”. Oh, that was depressing. One can only imagine the stories coming out of that place.

    1. I wasn’t, until I remembered that postcard with the big stone wall. I didn’t look at that link. Depressing, I’m sure.

  9. Now that you mentioned this penitentiary, I’m remembering the one in Philadelphia that looks much like a castle too. Check easternstate dot org.

    The sentiment “wish you were here now” is quite funny on a postcard featuring the state pen!

    1. I never thought of it that way before a few people mentioned it. I just thought the child found a postcard and missed her aunt so wrote that. Puts a whole nother possibility to the message.

  10. I clicked on the link about the Old Ohio Penitentiary and discovered this amazing story. It is a bit sad that a building with such a long history has been demolished, but luckily, these postcards remind us of how things used to be.

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