Throwback Thursday by Matson Insurance: Do-It-Yourself Postcards in Jefferson County

Matson Insurance has partnered with Jefferson County History Center to offer readers a look into Jefferson County’s past. Today, “Do-It-Yourself Postcards” are highlighted.

(Pictured above: Opel S. was a proud young mother when she had her child and herself photographed a bit after the turn of the century. She had the photograph made into postcards and sent them off to relatives and friends.)

(Submitted by Carole Briggs.)

Do-It-Yourself Postcards

Perhaps you’ve seen the postcards of Brookville buildings—the courthouse, Presbyterian Church, or Pinecrest Country Club.

Once people bought them. Once people mailed them. Today people collect them.

But, did you know that about a century ago, people often had photographs taken of themselves and had them printed as postcards they would send to their friends for just a penny!

That’s almost as inexpensive as Emailing a .jpg today!

Baseball player Bertie E. Smeltzer posed in his uniform, bat in hand, and mailed his photograph from Climax to Miss Ada Traister in New Bethlehem. Bertie’s photograph appears to have been taken outdoors, but sometimes entire teams would visit Frederick Knapp’s studio on Main Street in Brookville, pose in their uniforms, and have their photograph taken, too.

Some young fellow played on a Brookville baseball team that traveled to Cambridge, but was it Cambridge, PA, or Cambridge, OH? Addressed to Mr. Comile Corvaille, Mt. Vernon, Ohio, unsigned, and mailed from Brookville the message reads, “This is the bunch that went up to Cambridge for two games. I am having a good time playing foot ball now. Played Sat. Reynoldsville 0 Brookville 6.”

The 1905 Brookville High School football team posed in an assortment of uniforms for their postcard, and Coach Downes and his basketball players posed in 1909. A helpful donor included a list of last names―Gordon, Snyder, Lawson, Haines, Speaper [sic], Hastings, and Harry King, and Kelly.

Other groups like the entire class of Blaine Simpson and the 1914 graduating class from Falls Creek High School are pictured on postcards, as were members of the Hudson County Sunday School League in 1916. “Dear Alice, I haven’t a post card view of the church but some of its members are represented on the reverse side. I wonder―can you locate me? It’s hardly fair to expect you to for the photos you have of me are not recent. #1 is your Fred, #2 (my brother Henry). With love, Fred”

Parents had photographs taken of their children to send off to relatives and friends. The History Center collection has postcards of Richard Wilson and Mildred Jane Campbell as babies. A mother who signed her name as Opel S. put her baby in a perambulator or buggy and had that photograph printed as a postcard.

[email protected] County Historical Society, Inc.

Throwback Thursday is brought to you by Matson Insurance in Brookville.

Submitted by the Jefferson County History Center.

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