Woman's Club

This postcard is unused (never postmarked).

This postcard is unused (never postmarked).

The Worcester Woman's Club Building, completed in 1902 and now known as Tuckerman Hall, is one of the most unique and historically interesting buildings in Worcester. It's triangular shape was essentially dictated by the small parcel of land on which it is built, but the design solution for this limited footprint is both elegant and beautiful.

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The architect, Josephine Wright Chapman, anchored this Neoclassical Revival building with circular towers on each of the three corners, which allowed a setback of the main facade and provided room for a drive-through portico. To accommodate a sharply sloped building site, the front of the building is four stories tall, while the back is only three stories.

The life story of Josephine Wright Chapman is worthy of an entire book and an overview of her history can be found in the references provided below. She was born in 1867 and, despite her family's intense disapproval, convinced a prominent Boston architect (Clarence Blackall) to accept her as an apprentice. Five years later Chapman established her own firm and in 1901 applied to join the American Institute of Architects and the Boston Architectural Club. They both turned her down. Chapman subsequently moved to New York City and in 1907 was accepted as a member by the New York Society of Architects.

Tuckerman Hall - July 27, 2014

Tuckerman Hall - July 27, 2014

Tuckerman Hall today is the home of the Massachusetts Symphony Orchestra and hosts dozens of public and private events each year.

REFERENCES
(1) Josephine Wright Chapman and Tuckerman Hall - Tuckerman Hall
(2) The First Women Architects (Pages 60 - 62) - Google Books
(3) 10 Tuckerman Street - City of Worcester Property Records

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THE CARD

Souvenir Poatcard Co., New York and Berlin
NOTE: The title on the front of the card says that this is the “Worcester Women’s Club” but the correct wording should have been “Woman’s” (singular possessive). Thanks for Susan Ceccacci for pointing out this minor but important detail.

Bancroft Tower - You are not forgotten.

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Bancroft Tower is the only remaining example of three similar structures that once stood in the city of Worcester. It's construction was funded by Stephen Salisbury III to honor the memory of George Bancroft who, among a host of other accomplishments, created the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis during his tenure as the U.S. Secretary of Navy. Designed by the local firm of Earle & Fisher, the tower was completed in 1900 at a cost of $15,000 and is now the centerpiece of Salisbury Park.

Bancroft Tower: October 8, 2014

Bancroft Tower: October 8, 2014

Sent to: Mrs. Jos. A. Peckham
Address: Newport, R.I.
You are not forgotten. I am very busy & too tired to write much. Picked 24 1/2 qts. blueberries to-day. Earned $2.94 to-day. Not much compared to your strawberry crop. We have to bring all our water. It is very dry, even berries which suffer the least will not last long if rain does not come soon. It probably will as God usually provides all. I don't feel very good to-night Give my love to both families. Ethel C.
I'm too tired to write as I ought.

Postmark: 07/15/1913 - Montague, MA

Postmark: 07/15/1913 - Montague, MA

THE MYSTERY

  • The message on this card is not so much a mystery as it is a startling view into one rural laborer's life during the early 1900's. At the time, Ethel was working on a farm in Montague, Massachusetts earning 12 cents per quart of blueberries picked. Today, on an inflation adjusted basis, that would be about $3.02 per quart, or $74 for her day's work. She is clearly exhausted and not feeling well. And no wonder!! In the middle of a hot, dry July, she probably worked 10 - 12 hours per day for six days a week.

THE SENDER

The absence of the sender's surname on this card leaves her history relatively immune to research. However, she and the recipient clearly have a close relationship and the pain of her separation from "both families" is evident from the first sentence.

THE RECIPIENT

Ella Remembrance (Farnum) Peckham (Mrs. Jos. A. Peckham) was born in Peru, Vermont in 1879 and was married there in 1899. At the time of the 1910 federal census, she was living on a farm in Middletown, Newport, Rhode Island with her husband and three children. She died in 1969 and is buried beside her husband in the Middletown Cemetery.

REFERENCES
(1) 1910 Federal Census - Ancestry.com

THE CARD

Identity of printer/distributor not shown on the card.
[64314]

Easton's Corner

This postcard is unused (never postmarked).

This postcard is unused (never postmarked).

The F. A. Easton Company, already an established newsdealer in the city at the time, moved to this site at the intersection of Main and Pleasant Streets in 1893. Fergus Anzle Easton (born in Scotland in 1842) was a veteran of the Civil War, serving in the Fourth and Sixth Regiments of the New York Volunteer Infantry, primarily in Northern Virginia. Although he died in 1916, his wife reportedly continued to operate this establishment until 1965.

In his book of collected essays, The Worcester Account, Samuel N. Behrman mentions Easton's as a significant part of the downtown landscape. "Saturdays and holidays there was exaltation in going ‘down the line’ . . . [past] City Hall, to Easton’s, at Main and Pleasant." No doubt a part of the attraction for Behrman and his companions was the soda fountain there which, when originally installed, was the largest in Worcester.

REFERENCES
(1) Memorial Encyclopedia of the State of Massachusetts, Volume 2 - Google Play
(2) F. A. Easton Company - WorcesterMass.com
(3) Samuel N. Behrman - Worcester Historical Museum

 

Thanks to Larry Abramoff for the card.

Thanks to Larry Abramoff for the card.

THE CARD

Raphael Tuck & Sons, "RaphoType" [Regd] Postcard No. 5060, "WORCESTER, Mass."
ART PUBLISHERS TO THEIR MAJESTIES THE KING & QUEEN
[No. 5060]
 

Worcester Trade School - Some verry pretty places.

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This postcard features the first-built section of the Worcester Boys Trade School, completed in 1910 and, with assistance from students attending the school, greatly expanded in 1916-1917. The building at that time fronted on Grove Street and faced Armory Square, so named because of the Worcester National Guard Armory located diagonally across the square. Milton Higgins, a noted Worcester industrialist, was instrumental in establishing the school, acting as an early advocate, donor, and fundraiser.

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As seen above, the original structure (far left) was incorporated into the new building, which is much grander in scale and more elegant in design. The architects of the expansion also took care to symmetrically match the extension on the right to achieve visual balance. After a new co-ed Technical High School was finished in 2006, this entire suite of buildings was renovated into apartments and is now known as the Voke Lofts.

REFERENCES
(1) Worcester Institutional District - Waymarking.com

Sent to: Mr. Leroy Stalker
Address: [???], NY
Dear Friend your card received and like it very much. I think there must be some verry pretty places there this is not a pretty card but most men are interested in schools and colleges I have quite a collection of them from different [???] Good night and answer soon
Your Friend  Rose L. Ross
66 Madison Street, Worcester Mass

Postmark: 01/31/1912 - Worcester, MA

Postmark: 01/31/1912 - Worcester, MA

THE MYSTERY

  • The sender and recipient of this card were born 22 years apart in different states and lived 300 miles away from each other. Were they simply engaging in a regular exchange of cards, which was a bit of a rage in the early 1900's, or was there something more? It is tempting to read a certain sentiment into Rose's comments, ("Good night and answer soon") but it seems unlikely that tender thoughts would have been shared with a much younger married man in something as public as a postcard sent to his home.

THE SENDER

In the 1900 federal census, Rose L. Ross, is listed as married and head of household, living at the time with her two children and her mother, Elizabeth Smith. Notably, however, her husband does not appear on that record. We also learn that she worked as a "Laundress" and was born in Rhode Island in 1866. Oddly, she is not recorded on the 1910 census, even though she apparently lived at the same address on Madison Street from at least 1900 through 1912.

THE RECIPIENT

Leroy E. Stalker was born in 1888 and, according to the federal census records for both 1910 and 1920, was living in Union, New York. He worked at a shoe factory throughout this period, including time spent as a "Fiber Worker" and "Carton Cutter." Married when this card was sent, he had only recently left his parent's house to live independently with his wife. He died in March 1974 at the age of 86 and is buried at the Riverside Cemetery in Endicott, New York.

REFERENCES
(2) Federal Census Records & Social Security Death Index - Ancestry.com 

New England Telephone & Telegraph

This postcard is unused (never posted).

This postcard is unused (never posted).

This utilitarian but still quite handsome Art Deco building was designed by the firm of Densmore, LeClear and Robbins for the New England Telephone and Telegraph Company and completed in 1928. Although not evident from the postcard shown above, the structure includes many adornments typical of this architectural style, including elaborate exterior lighting fixtures, ornamented doorways, and a fierce eagle (see below) topping the Elm Street entrance.

Today, 90 years after it was opened, the building is still owned by a telephone company (Verizon), although they are no longer in the telegraph business.

REFERENCES
(1) Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System

New England Telephone & Telegraph Building: November 6, 2014.

New England Telephone & Telegraph Building: November 6, 2014.

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THE CARD

PUB. BY PERKINS & BUTLER, INC., WORCESTER, MASS.
"TICHNOR QUALITY VIEWS" MADE ONLY BY TICHNOR BROS. INC., BOSTON, MASS.
[63324]
 

Pleasant Street from Main Street - This other pretty place.

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The view on this card amply illustrates the vibrant commercial scene on lower Pleasant Street in the early 1900's. Shops abounded with offices and apartments above. By the late 1960's however, the character of the city had changed and the rush to "urban renewal" was in full swing. And, as was typical for such redevelopments at the time, the wisdom of a walkable city was cast aside in favor of large, out-of-scale buildings with severely limited pedestrian access.

. . . this place not so pretty.

. . . this place not so pretty.

In 1974, most of the three, four, and five story buildings on the left side of the street were replaced by a 24-story office building (and its associated parking garage). On Pleasant Street now, that building is flush with the sidewalk and presents only a blank, impenetrable wall. Although other factors were certainly in play at the time, this disregard for the value of street-level connections contributed significantly to the destruction of the streetscape and crippled the commercial potential of lower Pleasant Street.

REFERENCES
(1) Worcester County National Bank Tower

Sent to: Mrs. Mary C. Coopper
Address: New London, NH
My dear Mrs. Coopper: I arrived to Boston last Friday, and after af to visit the city, I came this other pretty place. leaving for Norwich at 3, o'clock. To-morrow I will write you again Yours sincerely.
From: B. G. Luina [??]

Postmark: 03/22/1915 - Worcester, MA

Postmark: 03/22/1915 - Worcester, MA

THE MYSTERY

  • In this case, the mysteries abound. Clearly, the sender was traveling south, undoubtedly by train, and had been in Boston on March 19th. But what had happened between that date and the sending of this card, and the nature of these two parties' relationship, and why there is no census or local address record of the recipient are all unknown.

THE SENDER

The spelling of the signature on this card is difficult to resolve, but perhaps a sharper-eyed reader could tease out an accurate transcription. In any case, all of the possible letter combinations I could imagine don't result in a spelling that makes sense.

THE RECIPIENT

The Anglo Saxon surname "Coopper" and its many variants is quite common and originally referred to those who made barrels and similar containers. My search for a Mrs. Mary C. Coopper living in New Hampshire has turned up nothing and this particular spelling seems much more prevalent in those living in the southern United States.

THE CARD

Pub. by Henry Freeman & Co., Worcester, Mass.

Main Street from Harrington Corner - Isn't it time?

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Quite remarkably, most of the buildings seen in this view of Main Street from the early 1900's have survived relatively intact. Prominent among them is the building in the immediate foreground on the right, Harrington Corner, designed by famed architect Elbridge Boyden and completed in 1850. Boyden's work over the course of a 50-year career included dozens of elegant homes, churches and commercial buildings in Worcester and many, many more throughout the Northeast.

Harrington Corner: April 5, 2017

Harrington Corner: April 5, 2017

Postmark: 08/04/1906 - Worcester, MA

Postmark: 08/04/1906 - Worcester, MA

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Sent to: Mr. H. J. Soule
Address: Franklin, VT
What does your postal mean? Haven't you rec'd my letter yet? I am alone at the office. My pictures haven't come yet. Isn't it time?

THE MYSTERY

  • The mysteries here are many and rich, all contained in five short sentences on the face of the card. The sender has sent a previous letter (What does your postal mean?) but is quite confused by a recent missive from the recipient (Haven't you rec'd my letter?). The possibilities are endless. And, pictures of what? Finally, a plaintive note, "I am alone at the office." Alone and reaching out for some human connection via postcard.

THE SENDER

Unfortunately, there is no signature or other indication of who the sender might have been.

THE RECIPIENT

There are no easily located records for Mr. H. J. Soule in Franklin, Vermont. However, the card was sent "c/o Wm. Riley, R.D. No. 1." and a William J. Riley is listed on the 1910 U.S. census as a farmer in Franklin County. The obvious inference then would be that Mr. Soule was a laborer at the farm, not a permanent resident, which would explain the addressing of the card.

THE CARD

Published by The Metropolitan News Co., Boston

Worcester Country Club

This postcard is unused (never postmarked).

This postcard is unused (never postmarked).

Worcester Country Club was opened at this location in 1914 and subsequently hosted the U.S. Open in 1925, the Ryder Cup in 1927, and the U.S. Women's Open in 1960. As noted on the face of the card, and rightly so, this was "One of the Finest Tournament Courses in the East."

The golf course itself is a Donald Ross design, one of 413 by him in the United States, and is listed by the Donald Ross Society as being among his best. The photograph below shows that the clubhouse looks much the same today as it did in his time.

REFERENCES
(1) Worcester Country Club
(2) Donald Ross Society

Worcester Country Club: October 21, 2014.

Worcester Country Club: October 21, 2014.

THE CARD

Published by Economy Distributors, Inc., Worcester, Mass.
A "Colourpicture" Publication, Boston 15, Mass., U.S.A.
 

Old Ladies' Home - Many thanks for the card ...

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The "Old Ladies' Home" was built in 1896 with funds willed by Ichabod Washburn. According to his wishes, the home was to provide for “those who have not been the recipients of public charity, but have respectably sustained a struggle with disease or misfortune, till such a refuge at the Home will be appreciated and enjoyed by them.” This building survives today and is currently owned and occupied by Washburn House LLC, which runs an addiction recovery center for adults aged 18 and older.

REFERENCES
(1) Website of Washburn House.

Sent to: John A. Scherf
Address: Easton, PA
Many thanks for the card - call again.
From: M. C. Brace, 864 & 1/2 Main Street, [Worcester, MA]

Postmark: 02/24/1909 - Worcester, MA

Postmark: 02/24/1909 - Worcester, MA

THE MYSTERY

  • As with many postcards, the connection between the sender and recipient is unknown and indecipherable from the text alone. In this case, the only thread I can discover is that the recipient as well as the sender's mother had Germanic surnames. Cousins perhaps?

THE SENDER

Margaret(h) C. Brace, born in 1885, was the daughter of Charles W. & Margaret(h) J. Brace, née Gompf. On the 1910 census, she was recorded as living in Worcester with her parents and three siblings (George, Gertrude & Anna) and working as a Milliner in a department store. By the time of the 1940 census, she was widowed and living with her aged parents.  She died in 1970 and is buried at Locust Hill Cemetery in Evansville, Indiana.

THE RECIPIENT

John A. Scherf was born in May 1890 and would have been just 18 years old when this card was sent. About this time he is listed in the Easton city directory as a Silk Worker. He died in 1952 and is buried in the South Easton Cemetery.

THE CARD

Made in Germany. A.C. Bosselman & Co., New York

Worcester Consolidated Car Barn - I went on weaving alone...

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The Worcester Consolidated Car Barn, located at 99-109 Main Street, was built in 1903 from plans prepared by the firm of Frost, Briggs, & Chamberlain.

A survey by the U.S. Department of the Interior in the 1980's reported that the building was "In good condition, to be demolished." Replaced originally by a hotel, which ultimately failed, the building on this site is now occupied by the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Services

REFERENCES
(1) Historic American Buildings Survey, Department of the Interior, Washington, DC

Sent to: Mrs. Fred Schraft
Address: Norwich, New York
WORCESTER, MA
I received your letter yesterday I wrote you a letter the other day didn't your get We haven't got any work today untill Tuesday because they are doing some repairing to the mill I wrote and told you I went to work Monday I went on weaving alone Wednesday it did not take me long to learn. I do not know just how long I will stay I will write later. ~Rosa

 

Postmark: 08/31/1912 - Worcester, MA

Postmark: 08/31/1912 - Worcester, MA

THE MYSTERY

  • In 1912, the city of Worcester had hundreds of operating mills of all types. Rosa's comment that ". . . it did not take me long to learn." suggests that she was recently arrived in Worcester. Where exactly did she work and what product was she weaving?

THE SENDER

Rosa Schraft was born March 10, 1890, to Fred Shraft and Christana (Dues) Schraft, in Norwich Chen, New York. At the time this postcard was sent, she would have been 22 years old. She was married the following year on November 1, 1913 and died in 1976. She is buried at  Mount Hope Cemetery, Norwich, Chenango County, New York, USA.