Thursday, February 26, 2015

Making the most of a 1928 postcard to Edna Albert

(Note: This is another one of those posts that I thought would be a "quickie," and then things took a turn during the research.)

This pre-stamped penny postcard was mailed from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in May 1928 to Miss Edna Albert in Gardners, Pennsylvania.

Pre-stamped blank postcards were popular for people who wanted to send messages as cheaply as possibly.

And, of course, if you could write small, you could really get your money's worth from your penny. The postcard shown here is a good example of the efficiency of small, cursive writing.

Here's my best estimation of what the note states:
"Dear Edna: Some time ago I rec'd your letter with Mr. S. letter. At the time we were studying Japan. The letter came just at the right time, and tomorrow evening we are having our spring exhibit. Well part of the letter is on our chart for exhibit, the part with reference to the different counties - population, etc. The kiddies thought it was just lovely to have something direct from Japan. I have worked hrs. & hrs. for this exhibit. I wish you could be with us. My sister-in-law has been very ill in the General Hospital. Taken sick very suddenly - very seriously ill for a few days. She is better now, and getting along nicely. It kept me very busy - burning the candle at both ends. I had some help at the house, but still much depended on me. Such is life. Glad to know when you wrote me that father was quite well - a very remarkable man. I see Mr. Roddy quite often - pass his home on my way to work. Pardon a card. I will try to write a letter just as soon as I have more time - I'll be rushed for a while. Love, L.G."

Edna Albert was, among other things, an author. She wrote Little Pilgrim to Penn's Woods, a tale of a family coming to the New World in a quest for religious freedom. It was published around 1930.

She died in April 1960 and had a somewhat bizarre end in Gardners. Her death was reported on the front page of the April 4, 1960, issue of The Gettysburg Times with the headline "Miss Edna Albert Found Dead By Friend Sunday; Had Fallen Off Porch."

Here's a long excerpt from the article:

Miss Edna Albert, 81, author and well known in the county for her activities in the WCTU and YWCA, was found dead Sunday morning at 8 o'clock at her home in Latimore Twp., Gardners R. 1.

Dr. C. G. Crist, Adams County coroner, said death was caused by a broken neck and fractured skull caused in a fall from an 18-foot high porch roof to the ground where she struck a flagstone.

The body was found by Mrs. John Peters, Gardners R.D., who had gone to Miss Albert's home to drive her to services at the Chestnut Grove Lutheran Church, about three miles away, of which she had been a member for many years.

Dr. Crist set the time of death at 6 o'clock.

Suspect Fright

Those called to the home found the doors locked and a chair was placed blocking her bedroom door. Marks on the windowsill of her bedroom indicated that she had crawled out of that window to the porch roof. She was found with a cane in her hand. It was surmised that she may have been frightened by some noise in the house and went out on the roof, then frightened and confused had fallen to the ground.

In good health physically, she had walked a mile or two nearly every day visiting friends in the area. She had walked to the Chestnut Grove church several weeks ago.

She was a daughter of the late Franklin Albert, who had been a teacher at the Millersville school, and Hannah Mauger Albert. She had been raised in the Millerville [sic] area. Her mother died when Miss Albert was three years old and she had resided with her father until his death in 1931. She lived in a house near Gardners which had been the home of her grandparents.

A native of Millersville, Lancaster County, Miss Albert was graduated from the Millersville State Normal School and then attended Dickinson College where she graduated with Phi Beta Kappa Honors in 1905.

She was a member of the Adams County Historical Society and of the county WCTU [Women's Christian Temperance Union].

She was the author of "Little Pilgrims in Penn's Woods," [sic] a best seller and Book-of-the-Month selection for children's libraries several decades ago. ...

Surviving are a brother, Frank, and a sister, Mrs. Elizabeth Gold, both of Los Angeles.

This 1928 postcard is signed with the initials L.G. and makes reference to "father." I wonder if L.G. could be Edna's sister, initialing as "Liz Gold" (or Lizzie or Lizabeth).

This won't be the final mention of Edna Albert here. I have a half-dozen other 20th century postcards that were addressed to her, including one with handwriting much smaller than that featured on this postcard.

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