25 August 2010

Today's Vintage Rusyn Photograph

From the cover of Carpatho-Rusyn American, Summer 1988: "Carpatho-Rusyn peasants in the Užhorod market, photographed by Margaret Bourke-White for Erskine Caldwell's North of the Danube, published in 1939."

Eine alte Postkarte

(If you're reading this post via e-mail or another reader, please click through to the blog to get all of the embedded features!)

This post comes during a kind of huge breakthrough for me regarding some of my own genealogical research.  Turns out, my great-great grandfather from Ladomirová actively used an alias, which is kind of cool.  That's as far back as I'm going right now, because of jus sanguinis.

Years ago, a friend teased me that I'd be one of those academic types searching through old letters and postcards at flea markets and antique stores looking for the lost letters of some famous artist I was researching.  I'm not quite at that point yet, but I do like looking through old postcards when I'm at a flea market or antique store.  Especially when the postcard was written and sent.

So when my mom and I were at this fantastically huge antique mall in the middle of Indiana cornfields about a month ago, I spent a lot of time looking through the old postcards I could find.  I got a lot of postcards featuring Mecki the Hedgehog, because they're so deliciously uncomfortable in some indescribable way, and a very interesting postcard from the Summit Inn in Uniontown that is typewritten and talks about General Pershing.

But there was one postcard that was most curious to me. I've been wanting to Google it, and it turns out, it's even more interesting than I thought.  Yay for literate, Anglophone, WASPy Americans who are easy to research on Ancestry.com!  Here's the postcard:

It was written by Marian Colburn, who at the time would have been 14 years old:

Marion's father
Marion's dad was a shoe salesman. In the 1900 census, the Colburns of Wellesley Hills, Mass. had a servant living with them named Cora Carter, and Frank the Traveling Shoe Salesman owned his house outright.

Her brother, Stanley Childs Colburn, married Marie Spahr, whose dad, George Tallman Spahr, graduated from Amherst College in 1878.  He was a WWI veteran.  Between 1910 and 1930, he was in Minnesota at some point. By 1930, Stanley Colburn and his wife Marie were living in Fargo, North Dakota and they had 4 children.  He died in 1986, age 100, in a long-term care facility after working as a wholesale grocery manager, and is buried in Ohio.

On October 3rd, 1903, she applied for an emergency passport at Vevey-Lausanne, Switzerland. This was probably her first trip abroad, but it wasn't her last: she returned to New York from Naples first class aboard the the then-very-fashionable SS Independence on April 2, 1956 with five pieces of luggage.

By 1920, Marian was living in Boston with her father's sister and was employed as a social services medical something or other. By the early 1930s, she was living in Allston, MA. In 1953, Marion, who never married and probably never lived outside of Massachusetts, donated three early American costume pieces to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (1, 2, 3).  She died in Lowell, Massachusetts on February 18, 1991 -- like her brother, she lived a long life!

The recipient of the letter, Professor Marshall Livingston Perrin, was one of those Who's Who types of people:

M. L. Perrin's 1922 passport picture
In addition to being a professor, he was also Superintendent of Wellesley Schools for 16 years (1893-1909) and they even built a school named after him.  He traveled all over the world and based on the emergency passport he applied for in Switzerland in August 1903, I'll venture the guess he was travelling at least part of the time with Miss Colburn -- the documentation also says he was with his son, Harold.  When he came back to the US on the S.S. Carpathia, he wasn't with his son, however.  Harold Perrin and Marian Colburn were about the same age.  Harold became a lawyer and was also the chair of the Committee on Street Railways in Boston in 1919. He had four children with his wife, Edith.

Clipping advertising a lecture in North Adams, MA in 1896.

Professor Perrin was quite the globetrotter: he lived in Germany from 1883-88, and almost every summer he was traveling in Europe, but in 1919-1920 he was in Asia, where he also visited at least once before 1896.  The Ship Manifests show him traveling on the White Star Line, Cunard, and Holland America Line, Red Star Line and on ships like the MS St. Louis, SS Dresden, RMS Baltic, SS Carmania, SS George Washington, and the famous RMS Carpathia.

Here's a map with some of the places the people involved lived and worked:

View alte Postkarten in a larger map

So I hope you enjoyed reading a little bit about other people's adventures (and all of the gaping holes in the story) through my little research into primary sources.  For my part, I'll keep looking through stacks of old postcards whenever I get the chance!

12 August 2010

It's not just me!
A grad school colleague just returned from Turkey and has posted some really interesting comments about what she saw in Turkish museums.