Bells Are Pealing A Merry Christmas!

What a captivating smile this little boy has!  Across the century I can still feel its warmth.  Silhouetted against an embossed gold bell, the child’s Christmas outfit looks snug and warm, with a red shirt peeking from beneath the green corduroy coat. I would love to have that matching hat with its neatly trimmed brown fur.  

The card was sent from a Morgantown friend or relative to my grandfather, Donald C. Minor.  On December 12, 1909,  Genevia B. wrote:

“Hello, Donald.  This is my Merry Christmas greetings to you. I hope Santa will be good to you.”

 

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My Fair Lady Wishes You A Happy Christmas!

Sent with no message, December 22, 1909

This fair lady sends greetings for a Happy Christmas. Seven year old Donald C. Minor received this card at Christmastime 1909, and though the painting is not signed, I believe it to be another Ellen H. Clapsaddle card.  Why?

  1. An embossed frame of gold holds the portrait of a sweet young lady, hair swept stylishly up and under a hat bedecked with fresh roses.  A ruffled collar frames a face full of youthful innocence.  Such a joyful illustration of Victorian youth is characteristic of Ellen H. Clapsaddle’s work.
  2. Turning the card over, I discovered this:
  3. The International Art Publishing Company was established in 1895, merging companies formerly run by Messrs. Wolf and Samuel Garre.  Their most prolific artist was Ellen H. Clapsaddle, as I discovered while researching Skating to Greet YOU!, a card also printed in 1909.

Until a collector convinces me otherwise, I stand on my judgement: My Fair Lady is a Clapsaddle original.  Happy Christmas!

A Joyous Christmastide – Christmas in Postcards

Printed in Germany

Dear Cousin

Dear Cousin, We arrived home safe and it has been winter ever since.  Old Santa is coming to our church Friday eve. and we are anxious to see him. Come out and see us and we will take a sleighride. ~Ivan Vannroy

A happy Christmas “meow” to you! The lightly embossed kittens send young Donald Minor of Greene County, Pennsylvania wishes for a joyous Christmastide.  The publisher’s mark is right below the right kitty and reads “Painting only. Copyrighted by S. Garre, New York 1909.”  Small print on the back indicates that the Series #1064 postcard was printed in Germany.

The note’s salutation led me on a goose-chase to find the connection between Donald and Ivan.  The postmark is stamped Tama, Iowa, December 22, 11 am, 1909.  While some Pennsylvania Minors migrated west to Ohio, Illinois and Iowa in the mid-1800s, I haven’t seen the name Vannroy in any family documents.  

Finally, exasperated, I took the shortcut offered at the Thomas Minor (The Immigrant) Society web page, searching the site by surname.  Within the descendant surname list I spotted the family name: VANNOY.  When I plugged this spelling into Ancestry’s search engine I confirmed the Thomas Minor Society’s information.

The Story Unfolds

Francis Marion Minor had three children older than Donald’s father, Robert.  John P. was the eldest, then Olfred (whose son Carl also wrote to Donald), then there was Sarah Priscilla.  Sarah married Mark Herrington and had Beatrice Jane.  Beatrice Jane married John Vannoy and had little Ivan in 1906.  They are cited as living in Tama, Iowa in the 1910 census.

Behind this pair of kitten’s lies a family story wherein Sarah’s daughter Beatrice marries and moves west to Iowa.  In the fall of 1909 Bedie traveled home with her family, including young Ivan, returning to Iowa before winter set in. The Christmas kittens were then sent in three-year-old Ivan’s name to six-year-old Donald, the cousin with whom he had played during his Pennsylvania visit.

A Joyous Christmastide to you and yours!

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Christmas For The Birds

Born in Greene County, Pennsylvania in 1902, Donald was the youngest son, youngest grandson and youngest cousin of the Francis Marion and Mary Jane Gwynn Minor clan.  His parents, Robert and May Stephenson Minor, sent cards from their travels; his older sister, Helen, sent cards while she was attending school in nearby Waynesburg; aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends sent photocards and holiday greetings from all over the United States with great regularity.  The resulting Postcard Collection is both a family puzzle and a cultural window to the world of Donald Minor during the first decade of the twentieth century.  Today’s card comes from the Christmas Collection.

These American Robins are perched in a shrub, heads turned to some sound – perhaps someone is throwing out a pan of bread crumbs.  Helen Minor, age 17, sent this flock to her eight year old brother, Donald, in 1910.

Dear Brother, How many sleigh rides have you had? Do you slide down hill and skate at school?  I am busy getting read (sic) for examinations now.  Will be through next Wednesday at noon.  So will be home Wed. evening if nothing happens.  

Loving, Helen

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A Merry Christmas – a Paul Finkenrath Postcard

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A Merry Christmas - a Paul Finkenrath Postcard

This beautiful German postcard was published by Paul Finkenrath of Berlin around 1909. The card was sent to my grandfather, Donald C. Minor, in Garard’s Fort, Pennsylvania by a Jesse Blaker with the message: I see by the paper that you haven’t missed any school, that is doing fine.