Monday, October 19, 2020

Postcard: "Hallowe'en Booh" and James' cheerfulness

Today's vintage Halloween postcard, mailed on October 30 in 1911, features a young boy and a pair of cheerful-looking carved pumpkins. 

The postmark on the back is very faded, and the handwriting on the address provided some challenges. Here's what I started with:

POSTMARK = __?__-CA, N.Y.

Homoe. Opathic Hospital
Genesse St.

That's it. It just had the word "City," which I took to mean that the postcard was staying in the same place in which it was mailed. After some pondering and sleuthing, it turned out the answer was Utica Homeopathic Hospital, which opened in 1895 on Genesee Street in Utica, New York. 

And so the recipient of the postcard, named James, was a patient at the hospital.

This is what the note says, to the best of my transcription of the cursive writing:
Dear Friend James,
I hope you are feeling better. Keep as cheerful as possible. That will help a whole lot. I will see you soon.
I'm not even going to guess on the signature, which is just a first name.

Also, I don't think this will be the post for an in-depth discussion of the history and credibility of  homeopathic medicine. We'll leave that to the experts. I did find this one interesting tidbit, though: Middletown State Homeopathic Hospital, which operated from 1874 to 2006 in Middletown, New York, used baseball as a form of therapy for patients with mental disorders. The team was called the Asylums, and it became so talent-laden that players were recruited directly from the Asylums to professional baseball teams. According to Wikipedia, Asylums alumni included Alfred Lawson, George "Tuck" Turner, Jack Chesbro and Art Madison.

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