I’m a Big Brother! : Ivan Vannoy circa 1911

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Dear Cousin Donald,  You ought to come and see our little baby.  He is just fine.  we have not named him yet. Mabey (sic) you can send him a name.  How is "Great-Grandpa?  We are all fine.  Papa brought ma football from Chicago.  I wish I had a nice yard like you have to play in.  It has just poured down all day so Janet and I have been in the house all day, and it is raining hard this evening. When are you all coming to see us?  Mama said Helo (sic) to your Mama and wants to know how your papa is.  Lovingly your cousin.  Ivan Vannoy

Dear Cousin Donald, You ought to come and see our little baby. He is just fine. we have not named him yet. Mabey (sic) you can send him a name. How is “Great-Grandpa? We are all fine. Papa brought me football from Chicago. I wish I had a nice yard like you have to play in. It has just poured down all day so Janet and I have been in the house all day, and it is raining hard this evening. When are you all coming to see us? Mama said Helo (sic) to your Mama and wants to know how your papa is. Lovingly your cousin. Ivan Vannoy

In 1911, Donald Minor’s cousin, Bedie Harrington Vannoy, had her third child out in Iowa.  The little boy was eventually named Paul, and returned with siblings Ivan and Janet to visit their grandmother, Sarah Minor Harrington McClure, and their great-grandpa, Francis Marion Minor, with whom Donald lived while his father convalesced from migraines in health resorts like the Markleton Sanitorium.

The Tama, Iowa photographer, C. W. Wright, printed the photograph of this six-year-old on postcard stock, and the note accompanied other mail delivered to Ceylon Lane, Garard’s Fort, Pennsylvania.

*Photograph restored using PicMonkey: http://www.picmonkey.com/

 

 

I’m a Big Boy: Donald Corbly Minor circa 1905

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Donald Minor, putting his best foot forward for photographer T.W. Rogers of Carmichaels, Pennsylvania

Donald Minor, putting his best foot forward for photographer T.W. Rogers of Carmichaels, Pennsylvania

Donald was the youngest of the youngest, born in 1902 to a family of Minors that spread through the hills of Greene County, Pennsylvania.  The dark-haired toddler had a teenage sister, Helen, and cousins all busy with their high school work or farm chores or wedding plans. His father, Robert, was the youngest by ten years, and his elder siblings, John Pierson, Olfred and Sarah, all had nearly grown children by the time Donald came along.   Baby of the baby of the family, Don was a cherished, doted upon child. 

Sing A Song for Christmas!

Copyright 1906, P Sander N.Y.

A Merry Christmas!  I am so pleased to find among my collection a fine example of a glittered embossed postcard by P. Sander Company.  Oh, how I wish I knew the ins and outs of scanning to capture three dimensions, for the publishers of this era worked hard to enhance their cards, simply and cheaply, with embossing–raised areas of the painting that create depth! In this 1906 card the red-breasted songsters are heavily embossed atop a snow-covered fence that is less heavily embossed, quickly drawing your eye to the artist’s main subject.  The holly and snow are not only embossed but glittered, giving the impression that the sun may be peaking out between snow bearing clouds.  In the silver embossed background, a riverside town sits in the muffled, snowy silence.  Such a beautiful card! A hand delivered Merry Christmas to four year old Donald Minor from May M.

Family Secrets Lurking 2.0 – Wordless Wednesday

Family Secrets Lurking 1.0

Family Secrets Lurking 2.0

Serendipity Surrounds the Secret

Robert and May Stephenson Minor were reported to travel extensively, and I have always presumed it was due to wanderlust and adventure. The Donald Minor Postcard Collection (1906-1910) contained examples of photo cards from Niagara Falls, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Chicago, Charleston, West Virginia and Markleton, Pennsylvania; postmark ink lent support to the family recollections. The notes from these same cards offer a different explanation, however, particularly when read after the 1941 exchange between Robert and son Donald.

In a card postmarked from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania on 24 March 1910, Robert writes:

Arived here all right – feeling fairly well to day can’t tell you just where to write yet or less you write to the saint Charles hotel.  I would be there.  On my pill every day. R. M. 

Robert writes again on 5 April 1910:

 Donald are you well and enjoying yourself. Is rover all right.  I would like to have you over here to be with me for company.  we might go a hunting with rover.  I am not feeling very good I have the headaches prety bad to day.  What are the folks doing.  Could you wright to me.  From Papa

Donald was just shy of his eighth birthday when his forty year old father sent this card, inviting the boy and his dog, Rover, to come hunting. Robert’s headaches must have been a debilitating, chronic fact of life which even a young child would have known about.  I am not sensing adventure in the travels of 1910; Robert, it seems, suffered from migraines that took him on a search for relief, not a journey of adventure.   The card’s postmark reveals the clue about where he sought relief that spring of 1910 – Markleton, Pennsylvania.  Nestled in the Allegheny Mountains, this town was home to a grand health resort.

Robert Minor traveled a lot in 1910; Donald’s postcards indicate that Robert was in Pittsburgh in February and March; Markleton in April; Buffalo in May and June; Pittsburgh in September; and  Markleton in October - with Donald.

This card was sent to Donald by his uncle John P. Minor, Robert’s eldest brother.

Donald how are you geting a long ar you having a nise time dont you get lost in the mountans from Uncle John P Minor

Don’t get lost in the mountains, like the secret of Robert’s condition.

I wonder how long Robert suffered from headaches.  Was Robert hospitalized in 1941 for the same chronic condition?  When did his headaches start? What events precipitated his incapacitating condition? And how did these absences affect little Donald?

The secret lurking in my work room is become sharper, easier to imagine and envision.


Me and Teddy: Wordless Wednesday with Vintage Postcards

From the Donald C. Minor Post Card Collection, 1908

The eyes had me at first glance.

Just look at those eyes.  Both sets of soul’s windows invite joy and love into your day!

The sender of this card, Helen Ruse, declared that this photograph was of Teddy and herself, though the only Helen Ruse I can find in 1908 Greene County, Pennsylvania is a full grown woman, a neighbor who may have helped on the Minor farm.  At any rate the farm dog pictured must have strongly resembled a shaggy pal that my grandfather, Donald Minor, would have known and loved.

The message of Helen’s greeting is as playful as the photo front:

Dr. Faustus was a good man.
He whipped his scholars now and then.
When he whipped them, he made them dance.
Out of Scotland into France,
Out of France into Spain,
And then he whipped them back again . 
This is my speech.  We are all well.
Helen Ruse

Makes me chuckle.

I just dated myself to the era of “Spare the rod, spoil the child!”, when birthdays were occasions for playful spankings, school teachers carried rulers for the occasional knuckle rap and poems about whippin’ were meant to be funny yet instructive.  Ah, well.  There’s my bias.  What is your take on this card?

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The Prudential Post Card and Novelty Company printed this postcard in Leipzig,Germany.  The company is listed in the 1908  Trow CoPartnership and Corporation Directory of the Boroughs of Manhattan and the Bronx.  Messrs. Lewis Levy, Isidor E. Schlecsinger and Richard Rudlinger had their New York City offices at 82 Dunne Street, Room 32.