The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Postcards in the (home) archive: Folger postcards, 1936

A guest post by Stephen Grant

Figure 1. Left: Folger Shakespeare Library from northwest 1936. Right: Address side of same card. Author’s collection, photos by Stephen Grant

Printed on picture side:
FOLGER SHAKESPERIAN LIBRARY, WASHINGTON, D. C. 4A-H1791 

Printed on address side:
B. S. REYNOLDS CO., 918 D St., NORTHWEST WASHINGTON, D.C. “C. T. ART-COLORTONE” MADE ONLY BY CURT TEICH & CO., INC., CHICAGO, U.S.A. THIS SPACE FOR WRITING MESSAGES. THIS SPACE FOR ADDRESS ONLY.

Written message: March 16, 1936 Dear Mrs Brubaker – The pale blue dress I am sending you has been cleaned only once – last week – so it is probably worth being dyed. Most of the other things belong to my sister. I am sending 2 pkgs. Sincerely, Ethel Blake”

Postage stamp: 1c green Franklin, Scott #552 Regular Issue 1920

Postmark: WASHINGTON, D.C. 5             MAR 16, 1936

Destination: Wesleyan College, Athens, Tennessee

Color type: Color

Commentary:
Talk about a message out of left field! No relation to Erin Blake (as far as I know!), Ethel Blake acquires a picture postcard of the Folger, and on it describe the contents of packages which include a pale blue dress that has been cleaned only once. Destination: a southern college founded in the 1860s by the Methodist Church, one of the first to admit both men and women. How many of you caught on the picture side that you were not contemplating the Folger Shakespeare Library but the Folger “Shakesperian Library?

This is a famous Curt Teich postcard. The Curt Teich Postcard Archive Collection is the largest public collection of postcards and related materials in the U.S., transferred in 2016 from Lake County Discovery Museum in Wauconda, Illinois to the Newberry Library in Chicago. I visited the collection there in 2018 following a talk on Collecting Shakespeare at the Caxton Club the day before.

Less than a month before this postcard was sent, Emily Jordan Folger passed away. She died in Glen Cove, N.Y. on Feb. 21, 1936.

 

Figure 2. Left: Folger Shakespeare Library from northwest 1936. Right: Address side of same card. Author’s collection, photos by Stephen Grant

Printed on picture side:
FOLGER SHAKESPERIAN LIBRARY, WASHINGTON, D.C. 4A-H1791

 Printed on address side:
B. S. REYNOLDS CO., 918 D ST., NORTHWEST, WASHINGTON, D.C. THIS SPACE FOR WRITING MESSAGES. “C. T. ART COLORTONE” MADE ONLY BY CURT TEICH & CO., CHICAGO, U.S.A. POST CARD THIS SPACE FOR ADDRESS ONLY.

Written message: “That certainly was a fine letter you had written Monday – typing and all. I hoped I would have a chance to do it justice, but it will be some time now I think. The magazine is due to arrive this p.m., and we will have all we can do to get it out before Sat. Was glad to get all the news. I can’t understand about the Holland Co. Better drop them a line – don’t you think so? All well here–Lovingly, B”

Postage stamp: 1c green Franklin, Scott #552 Regular Issue 1920

Postmark: WASHINGTON, D.C. 19           OCT 29, 1936

Destination: Rutherford, N.J.

Color type: Color

Commentary:
A. and B. are professional colleagues concerned with deadlines and quality of work in a common journalistic endeavor.

 

Figure 3. Left: Folger Shakespeare Library from northwest 1936. Right: Address side of same card. Author’s collection, photos by Stephen Grant

Printed on picture side:
FOLGER SHAKESPEARE LIBRARY, WASHINGTON, D.C. 30.

Printed on address side:
PUB. BY THE WASHINGTON NEWS COMPANY, WASHINGTON, D.C. FOLGER SHAKESPEARE LIBRARY. East Capitol and 2nd Streets. This important addition to the cultural wealth of the nation was the gift of the late Henry C. Folger. The Collection includes more than 70,000 volumes, as well as pictures and other relics of the great poet’s life and work. The library has a $10,000,000 endowment fund, administered by the trustees of Amherst College. William A. Slade is librarian, and Joseph Q. Adams director of research. 135507 COLORCHROME, WASHINGTON, D.C. POST CARD

Written message: “Dear Myrtle: Having a superb time but am so tired. Our hotel is swell. Love, Mary” 

Postage stamp: 1c green Franklin, Scott #552 Regular Issue 1920

Postmark: WASHI9NGTON, D.C. 6           APR 12, 1936

Slogan cancel: BUY U. S. SAVINGS BONDS.

Destination: R.F.D. No. Berwick, Maine

Color type: Color

Commentary:
A short and common postcard message from Mary to Mrytle evoking superb visit to D.C., swell accommodation, and fatigue. I’m sure we can all relate.

 

Figure 4. Left: Folger Shakespeare Library from northwest 1936. Right: Address side of same card. Author’s collection, photos by Stephen Grant

Printed on picture side:
FOLGER SHAKESPEARE LIBRARY, WASHINGTON, D.C. 30

Printed on address side:
PUB. BY THE WASHINGTON NEWS COMPANY, WASHINGTON, D.C. FOLGER SHAKESPEARE LIBRARY. East Capitol and 2nd Streets. This important addition to the cultural wealth of the nation was the gift of the late Henry C. Folger. The Collection includes more than 70,000 volumes, as well as pictures and other relics of the great poet’s life and work. The library has a $10,000,000 endowment fund, administered by the trustees of Amherst College. William A. Slade is librarian, and Joseph Q. Adams director of research. 135507 COLORCHROME, WASHINGTON, D.C. POST CARD

Written message: “A pal, Susan Mieki”

Postage stamp: 1c green Franklin, Scott #552 Regular Issue 1920

Postmark: WASHINGTON, D.C. 19           APR 26, 1936

Slogan cancel: BUY U. S. SAVINGS BONDS ASK YOUR POSTMASTER

Destination: Easthampton, Mass.

Color type: Color

Dealer code: 15809

Commentary:
One of the shortest postcard messages in the world. I lived in Easthampton, Mass. for a year in the late 1960s.

 

Figure 5. Left: Folger Shakespeare Library from northwest 1936. Right: Address side of same card. Author’s collection, photos by Stephen Grant

Printed on picture side:
195507 FOLGER SHAKESPEARE LIBRARY, WASHINGTON, D.C. 30

Printed on address side:
PUB. BY THE WASHINGTON NEWS COMPANY, WASHINGTON, D.C. COLORCHROME, WASHINGTON, D.C. FOLGER SHAKESPEARE LIBRARY. East Capitol and 2nd Streets. This important addition to the cultural wealth of the nation was the gift of the late Henry C. Folger. The Collection includes more than 70,000 volumes, as well as pictures and other relics of the great poet’s life and work. The library has a $10,000,000 endowment fund, administered by the trustees of Amherst College. William A. Slade is librarian, and Joseph Q. Adams director of research. 135507 COLORCHROME WNC WASHINGTON,D.C. POST CARD

Written message: “Un Bonheur de Washington, Yvette.”

Postage stamp: 1c green Franklin, Scott #552 Regular Issue 1920

Postmark: WASHINGTON, D.C. 14           APR 15, 1936

Destination: Lewiston, Maine

Color type: Color

Commentary:
Yvette to Irene in French! The French have always been attracted to the nation’s capital, as its design was laid out by Pierre l’Enfant, a Frenchman. They’ve also been drawn to Maine (Yvette is writing to a French woman, Irene Nadeau, in Lewiston) as it is reminiscent of the Brittany coast.

 

Figure 6. Left: Folger Shakespeare Library from northwest 1936. Right: Address side of same card. Author’s collection, photos by Stephen Grant

Printed on picture side:
FOLGER SHAKESPEARE LIBRARY, WASHINGTON, D.C. 30 

Printed on address side:
PUB. BY THE WASHINGTON NEWS COMPANY, WASHINGTON, D.C. COLORCHROME, WASHINGTON, D.C. FOLGER SHAKESPEARE LIBRARY. East Capitol and 2nd Streets. This important addition to the cultural wealth of the nation was the gift of the late Henry C. Folger. The Collection includes more than 70,000 volumes, as well as pictures and other relics of the great poet’s life and work. The library has a $10,000,000 endowment fund, administered by the trustees of Amherst College. William A. Slade is librarian, and Joseph Q. Adams director of research. 135507 COLORCHROME WNC WASHINGTON,D.C. POST CARD

Written message: “Am having a wonderful time. Maude”

Postage stamp: 1c green Franklin, Scott #552 Regular Issue 1920

Postmark: WASHINGTON, D.C. 7             AUG 17, 1936

Slogan cancel: BUY U. S. SAVINGS BONDS ASK YOUR POSTMASTER

Destination: Martinsburg W. Va.

Color type: Color

Commentary:
Maude may be too busy having a wonderful time to provide Alberta with any details.

Another word about slogan cancels for those that are interested. My 1935 Folger postcards were totally lacking in this department. The 1936 crop of Folger postcards contains three slogan cancels, all the same. When did slogan cancels originate in the US? In the 1890s, to advertise the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo.

Not all of you will have noticed that this particular 1c green Franklin stamp is a “coil.” Postage stamps are perforate or imperforate. Perforate means their edges have teeth. Imperforate signifies they have straight edges. A coil stamp can have straight horizontal edges or straight vertical edges. Usually, imperforates are horizontal. Coils came into existence on U.S. postage stamps in 1909, the year my father was born. He was a stamp collector, and so was his father, born in 1870, when another Grant (no relation) was president. The rolls are for use in dispensers and vending machines. For a period, I bought at my local post office a roll of 100 coil stamps and inserted them in a small two-part see-through plastic dispenser; didn’t you, too?

 

Figure 7. Left: Folger Shakespeare Library from northwest 1936. Right: Address side of same card. Author’s collection, photos by Stephen Grant

Printed on picture side:
FOLGER SHAKESPEARE LIBRARY, WASHINGTON, D.C. 30 

Printed on address side:
PUB. BY THE WASHINGTON NEWS COMPANY, WASHINGTON, D.C. COLORCHROME, WASHINGTON, D.C. FOLGER SHAKESPEARE LIBRARY. East Capitol and 2nd Streets. This important addition to the cultural wealth of the nation was the gift of the late Henry C. Folger. The Collection includes more than 70,000 volumes, as well as pictures and other relics of the great poet’s life and work. The library has a $10,000,000 endowment fund, administered by the trustees of Amherst College. William A. Slade is librarian, and Joseph Q. Adams director of research. 135507 COLORCHROME WNC WASHINGTON,D.C. POST CARD

Written message: Just to let you know I arrived O.K. Had nice weather most of the time. Is Hannah at the lake now? If so, how long is staying? Sent her card to Milw. Will write a letter soon. Thanks for everything. Love, Dorothy.”

Postage stamp: 1c green Franklin, Scott #552 Regular Issue 1920

Postmark: WASHINGTON, D.C. 20           OCT 4, 1936

Slogan cancel: BUY U. S. SAVINGS BONDS ASK YOUR POSTMASTER

Destination: West Allis, Wisconsin

Color type: Color

Commentary:
Reassurance, curiosity, and gratification from Washington, DC all the way to Wisconsin.

Notice the commonalities among the 1936 postcards. A) It is predominantly woman-to-woman correspondence. B) Every card is a color card of the Folger taken from the northwestern perspective. C) Every card was posted with a 1920 green Franklin 1c postage stamp.

While 1934 and 1935 postcards in these blog posts were either black and white or sepia, all 1936 postcards are in color. We will see both black and white and sepia cards in future years, however.

Let’s dwell a bit on the 1920 Ben Franklin 1c postage stamp, if you please. The expression “penny postcard” goes back to 1926 when 1c was established in the U.S. as the fare to send a postcard on its domestic (not foreign) way. We know by now that both Emily and Henry Folger sent picture postcards. Why might it have pulled on their heartstrings every time they purchased or even laid eyes on a Ben Franklin postage stamp? Because they were related, of course. Peter Folger, who sailed from England to Boston in 1635, was Ben Franklin’s maternal grandfather. Those wishing to refresh their memories can go back to my post on the subject.

Now that I’ve shed my deltiological hat for a bit to don my philatelic hat, let’s think ahead to 2032. Is the Folger planning to submit to USPS a design for a “Forever Folger” postage stamp featuring the Wonder of Will renovation to commemorate the Library’s centennial? That would certainly be fun.

The seven cards come from only two photographs. Look for the “30” in the upper right corner, picture side. That takes care of five of the seven. The other two are a Curt Teich postcard with the same serial number on the lower right corner, picture side: 4A-H1791. The “4” of “4A” signifies that the card was produced in 1934.

In both photographs the Magnolia grandiflora that was moved 100 feet to the south in October 2020 already towers over the Puck fountain, which, as Henry Folger so gracefully wrote, is “embowered in shrubbery.”

Note that the earlier slogan cancels “ADDRESS YOUR MAIL TO STREET AND NUMBER” and “NOTIFY YOUR CORRESPONDENT OF CHANGE OF ADDRESS” have given way to “BUY U. S. SAVINGS BONDS ASK YOUR POSTMASTER.” United States savings bonds have been one of the most popular investments since being introduced in 1935 by Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Morgenthau.

Oh, there’s one more thing. eBay is always out for an extra buck, and I’m always a sucker. eBay asked me one day since I liked their Folger postcards so much, could I live without a metal facsimile suitable for wall decoration? Of course, I couldn’t. They even drilled four holes for me to save me the trouble. I did get the smallest of three, 7×11 in. What do you think of that?

Figure 8. Folger Library Postcard and on metal for wall mounting. Author’s collection, photo by Stephen Grant

Receiving states 1934–36
3          NY
2          ME
2          PA
1          CT
1          MA
1          NJ
1          OH
1          TE
1          WI
1          WV

Stephen H. Grant is a retired Foreign Service officer turned writer. He is the author of, among other things, several books about postcards, and Collecting Shakespeare: The Story of Henry and Emily Folger. He can be found on the web at https://www.stephenhgrant.com and on Twitter at @shgauthor.

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