Old New Year’s Postcards from York County Heritage Trust
Over the years folks have donated thousands of postcards to the York County Heritage Trust Library. Many are the scenic type, depicting local towns or specific buildings. The collection also has a large number of the holiday type, sent like we send greeting cards today.
The YCHT librarians often draw on the holiday cards to create a Christmas or Easter display in the cases outside the library entrance. This year Assistant Librarian Victoria Miller decided to show off the variety of New Year’s postcards, displaying 28 of the 100+ New Year’s cards in the collection. You can stop by and see them from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. A few of the others are shown in this post. I’ve also transcribed the messages on the reverse side of the cards, giving you an idea of what friends and family were writing about 100 years ago.
According to Picture Postcards in the United States 1893-1918 by Dorothy B. Ryan, signs of luck, like four-leaf clovers and horseshoes were popular, as were animals. Pigs were a good sign because they root forwards, while chickens scratch backward. (The Pennsylvania German tradition of pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day may relate to this.)
The card above with the silver horseshoe was sent to Miss Tillie Mundorff, 52 South Pine St., York, PA. It is postmarked York and sent in December of an unknown year.
It simply reads:
Wishing you a Happy New Year.
The card with the children enjoying what I hope is child-appropriate steaming punch was sent to Miss Mary Brose, 415 W. Market St., York, Pa.
It is postmarked York on an unknown December (the postmark is stamped over the one cent stamp, and the day and year aren’t legible). It reads:
Best Wishes for a Bright and Happy New Year, May it—Sun Shine and no Shadows.
Mrs. T. B. Laucks
This card with holly and violets relays more news. It is postmarked Old Town, Md., Dec. 27 (illegible year) and addressed to Mrs. Paul Meckley, RR #4, Hanover, York Co., Pa. The message is:
Dear Sister Cora,
On the 23rd we recd. at 15 pound boy. All as well as can be expected. Wishing you all a happy and prosperous New Year. Thanks for the presents sister Gertie, Pauline, Clyde and Paul. Write. [The card clearly says 15 pound—that’s not a typo.]