The Party Line – Jersey City, N.J. (1911)

Miss Sara Smyser lived in Jersey City, the city in northeast New Jersey.

Facing the Manhattan skyline across the Hudson River, the city is now a center of banking and finance.,_New_Jersey

In June of 1911, Sara received a postcard from Mary.

The postcard was mailed from York, PA, the city in south-central Pennsylvania.,_Pennsylvania

Online, one can find references to several generations of Smyser families in York County.

There were two persons named “Sara Smyser” born in York County who could be the recipient of the postcard.

Unfortunately, I could not find any records that tied definitively the Sara in Jersey City to birth or residence in York, PA.

Nevertheless, it is very possible that “our” Sara Smyser was a native of York County and was living or working in Jersey City in 1911.

The face of the comic postcard shows an eager young woman listening to the telephone she is holding.

Her expression indicates excitement and delight.

The title of the illustration is, “The Party Line” and the humorous insinuation is that the young woman is eavesdropping on her neighbors.

(More than a year ago, we saw a magazine cover illustrating a similar scene – an older gent was pressed to the telephone receiver.)

This postcard illustration of a young woman was copyright by Arthur Capper in 1909.

On the reverse, Mary communicates a request from Annie.

Sara is requested, “when you go to New York”, to find one of those “canvas comb and brush cases”.

The shopping request is the extent of the postcard message- which might suggest that the correspondents are good friends and regular writers to one another.

One hopes that Sara visited Manhattan, found the canvas cover, and that Mary and Annie were pleased by her efforts.


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