The Hen-Pecked Husband – West Chester, PA (1909)

This comic postcard was intended for Valentine’s Day – which suggests that the celebration of Romance and Love was not free of tension related to gender roles and power dynamics.

Mr. Watson Ryan was introduced in an earlier postcard story; he was living in West Chester in 1909.

West Chester is a thriving college town in Chester County, PA.

On February 12, Watson received a Valentine postcard from an anonymous friend in West Chester.

The face of the postcard bears the humorous drawing of a woman, dressed to go out, scolding her husband who is washing the dishes.

A verse describes the contrast of the man who brags and boasts in the saloon, but is cowed and bullied at home.

On the reverse, the sender writes, “Don’t ever let it happen to you.”

I cannot distinguish the name or mark of a publisher, but the postcard is designated, “Valentine Comics Series no. 1”.

One hopes that Mr. Ryan, throughout his life, found delightful relationships of mutual respect and shared responsibilities.


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