Lucy Paints a Postcard for Aunt Mamie – Lafayette, Illinois (1908)

Mrs. Charles Geary lived in Rogers Park, now the northernmost part of Chicago, facing Lake Michigan.,_Chicago

In December of 1908, Mrs. Geary received a postcard from her niece, Lucy.

Lucy mailed the postcard from La Fayette, then a prosperous center of farming and coal mining in Stark County of north-central Illinois.,_Illinois

The face of the postcard shows a boy and a girl on ice-skates.

The pair are attired in ways that would have been customary in the early twentieth century.

A third figure, however, is bewigged and wears a costume from earlier years.

The background is plain, and the card is not squared – suggesting that it was cut out of some other printed source.

Beneath the figures, Lucy writes, “This is my handpainting”.

Postcard painting was a hobby for many persons, chiefly women, of the early 19th century.

(Typically a genteel hobby of creative women, many budding artists also tried postcard painting. Adolf Hitler tried his hand at it without success.)

I believe that this postcard was probably printed with an outline of the figures, and that Lucy painted the faces and most of the clothing.

Without intending to collect them, I have numerous postcards related to Charles Geary and to his wife, Mamie.

Charles worked as a telegraph operator and station manager for a telegraph company and for the railroad.

I have postcards addressed to him in Swarthmore, PA, in New Jersey, and in several locations around Chicago.

Many friends sent postcards to Charles featuring pictures of trains, rail stations, or with themes related to the telegraph.

It was not until I began scanning the postcards that I realize that they were all addressed to Mr. Geary or members of his family.

One hopes that Aunt Mamie was delighted by the hand-painted postcard, that Lucy continued to find ways to exercise creativity, and that the members of the extended family remained correspondents for many years.


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