“Paddling in Gravesend” – Brooklyn, NY (1909)

Miss Mabel Kloppensburg lived in Brooklyn, the most populous borough of New York City.

(In 1910, more than 1.6 million people lived in Brooklyn – many worked in the industries and the enormous shipyard that lined the East River across from Manhattan.)


In July of 1909, Mabel received a postcard from Gravesend, England.

Gravesend is a town on the Thames River, about 21 miles southeast of London.


The postcard was sent by Ed.

We do not know how Ed was related to Mabel – whether he was a friend, classmate, family member, or suitor.

The face of the postcard is an illustration of seaside visitors wading into the sea.

No one in the group is prepared for swimming or bathing; the skirts of the women are hiked up to prevent the clothing from becoming wet.

There appears to be only one gentleman, and he is stationed in the middle of the group  – possibly as an anchor for the others who seem to be proceeding very carefully.

The scene is entitled, “Paddling”.

The postcard was published by the English firm of Watkins & Kracke Ltd. and was printed in Germany.

“Paddling” was mailed from Gravesend with a red, penny-stamp image of King Edward VII.

On the reverse, Ed asks, “What would happen if a duck came amongst this bunch”.

One hopes that Miss Kloppensburg was charmed by the amusing scene and that she heard many travel stories from Ed when they met again.


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