“On Thy Birth-Day” – Union Hill, NJ (1914)

Mr. E. Graver lived in Union Hill, a former town that lies on the lower Hudson River and forms a gateway to the New York harbor.

Union Hill was merged with West Hoboken to form the new “Union City”, in 1925.

In May of 1914, Mr. Graver was celebrating a birthday.

On May 18, he received a Birthday postcard from his son, Edward.

The postcard was mailed from New Haven, Connecticut.

The face of the postcard is a lovely drawing of pink blossoms.

Beneath the flowers is the greeting, “All Happiness on Thy Birthday”.

Although some members of the Society of Friends, the Quakers, maintained the use of the Thee/Thou pronouns through the early 20th century, most Americans did not do so.

I suspect that the language of the postcard may be an attempt to suggest greater formality or echo the forms of antiquity.

Nevertheless, the message on the reverse communicates affection and respect.

Edward inscribes the following:

“Best Wishes of a happy Birthday, Your beloved son, Edward”.

On the margin of the reverse, Edward adds, “and from Maude’s, best wishes too.”

We don’t know if Maude was a member of Edward’s household or another family member (or friend) in New Haven.

The postcard was carefully preserved for more than a hundred years, so it appears that Mr. Graver appreciated the warm greeting from his son and from Maude.


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