By Rosemary Herbert
One of the pleasures of being a member of The Postcard Unclass is to arrive in class and find that we have received mail — in the form of postcards, of course. The missives come from near and far. Three written by the children of one class member were hand-delivered. The others arrived through the mail from Cleveland, Ohio; Boston, Mass.; Portland, Maine; and even as far away as Wellington, New Zealand. Quirkiness and good wishes are hallmarks of several. Exemplifying this, one card features a reproduction of a vintage Nancy Drew book cover and bears a hand-illustrated message spelled out in a circle “Wishing the Postcard Unclass much success in its epistolary sleuthing.”
The signature on the card is, fittingly, “Nancy Drew.”
Another postcard delivers a lesson in local weather lingo. “Greetings from Portland, Maine,” the writer begins, “ 7-10 inches of snow today. That’s a wicked Pissah! We like to drop our ‘er’ sound and say ‘ah’ — like you’re at the doctor.”
Another card bears the image of Madame G. Van Muyden, as portrayed by the painter Amedeo Modigliani. The sender, who signs the card Madame G. Van Muyden, speculates on “what sort of metadata” the class will apply to her. A writer called Elaine from Boston notes that her card depicting Jane Austen’s grave in Winchester Cathedral in England had likely “lain neglected & unsent for decades. Perhaps I was saving it… or perhaps it was simply waiting for the perfect recipients!” Another Boston writer sends the Unclass wishes for “Good luck” on a postcard depicting bicyclists in snow and on a Florida beach. An unsigned card depicting Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, simply says, “Here’s a note for you.” The sender has drawn a music note following those words.
Finally, our most far-traveling postcard is sent by class member Rosemary Herbert’s penpal of more than 50 years. Labeled “Post card 1,” it’s mate has yet to arrive. The sender has chosen an illustration of New Zealand, with key destinations highlighted, as a “snapshot” of her island country for our class. We eagerly await her “Post card 2”!
We invite postcard communications from far and wide. Write to us at:
The Postcard Unclass
Cummings Center for the History of Psychology
University of Akron
25 S. College Street
Akron, OH 44325-4302
The David P. Campbell Postcard Collection, searchable at postcard.uakron.edu, is a key collection of the CCHP’s Institute for Human Science and Culture. This blog series chronicles student efforts to make a select group of these postcards more accessible through an Unclass offered through the EXL Center and the English Department at the University of Akron.