The Guardian Angel of the Trolley Track

The Guardian Angel of the Trolley Track – Marietta, PA (1908)

The concept of a guardian angel or tutelary being is found throughout the ancient world; our word “genius” is a derivative of the Ancient Greek word for the personal “daimon” who formed and guided one’s life.

In the Judeo- Christian tradition, the role of angels is prominent in all the narratives of the sacred texts.

One can find in many cultures of the world, ancient prayers and invocations that invite the protection and agency of angels.

In December of 1908, Mrs. Harriett Hoffmeir (?) of Marietta, PA received a postcard from her sister, Mary, in Blain, PA.

Blain is a very small town in western Perry County, about 40 miles west of Harrisburg, PA.

The town of Blain grew up around the mill of James Blaine. The final “e” was lost at some time in the 19th century.

The form of address, without the name of Mr. Hoffmeir, may suggest that Harriett was widowed.

We do not know if Harriett had children, but the postcard features an illustration of a girl playing with a hoop on the trolley track.

The Guardian Angel, in flaming red dress, intercedes to prevent a tragedy.

The Angel appears feminine; many depictions of Angels (since the 19th century) are feminized.

The Biblical Angel, of course, is often an imposing or terrifying figure.

One hopes that Harriett and her sister enjoyed the protection of angels in the New Year of 1909.


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