Sepia Saturday – One Moment Please

Launched by Alan Burnett and Kat Mortensen in 2009, Sepia Saturday provides bloggers with an opportunity to share their history through the medium of photographs. Historical photographs of any age or kind become the launchpad for explorations of family history, local history and social history in fact or fiction, poetry or prose, words or further images. 

My Grandmother Abbie was the oldest girl in a large family, and many responsibilities for the care of her younger siblings fell to her. As an older teen, she was eager to find employment to get herself out of the house. Her first job was at a grocery store, then Fuller Brush (I believe this was a store front – not door-to-door sales), and finally the telephone company in Fairfield, Iowa. My Dad says she liked working there and was delighted when she earned enough money to move out and live on her own.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of her working at the telephone company, but I did find this picture of the Fairfield Telephone Co. building which housed a Turkish restaurant as recently as 2009. Not sure of the status today.

Here is a picture of Grandma Abbie talking on the phone…

In an earlier Sepia Saturday post, I shared pictures of the Hedrick Y, near Hedrick, Iowa, where my grandparents owned a truck stop/cafe/grocery store. Most of those pictures were of the original building, but the bird’s eye view was taken after construction of a new building in 1956. My grandparents’ home was in the building that housed their business. When they tore down the business, they also tore down their home.

Since I spent many Saturday’s at the Hedrick Y, the deconstruction/construction site became my playground.

In both pictures, I see what looks like an old wooden crank-style phone near the working phone. It makes me wonder if it was jerry-rigged to provide an extension so they could use the phone without the building.

Don’t be shy – call on the other Sepia Saturday bloggers and see what they have done with today’s prompt.

Rainbow Fliers from the 1940 Presidential Campaign

With the presidential election on everyone’s mind, here is a bit of memorabilia from the 1940 presidential campaign.

This first scan is the Reorder Blank for the First and Second Flights of Rainbow Fliers in support of the re-election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

These came from the papers of my grandparents, Eveline Coates and Thomas Hoskins. As you can see above, the Rainbow Fliers were from the Women’s Division of The Democratic National Committee. At the bottom of the order form is the suggestion:  if this second flight of fliers is assembled in sets for distribution, the most pleasing effect can be obtained by arranging them in the order in which they are listed above.

Mine look a little drab. Surely this rainbow was brighter in 1940.

Rainbow Flyers were fact sheets on colored paper used in the fight for women’s suffrage. They were handed out at events, left in mailboxes, or otherwise distributed to promote the cause of a woman’s right to vote. This approach was successful in the suffrage movement, and was adopted by women working in the Democratic party in subsequent presidential election campaigns.

I don’t recall hearing my grandparents talk about politics or their voting habits. Perhaps these flyers were left in their mailbox, but that doesn’t seem likely since it is a complete (almost) set including a reorder blank. Maybe Grandma went to a meeting and picked up a set… Maybe Grandma picked up several sets to hand out to her friends and neighbors… Maybe one of Grandma’s friends tried to entice her to get involved and left her with a complete set to study… I’ll probably never know.

First Flight:

1. All in Seven Years - The New Deal Record

2. Electric Power for the People

 Seems odd today that electricity was a major issue in a presidential campaign.

3. It’s Your Country – New Deal Conservation Record (missing)

4. As Farmers Profit, Cities Also Prosper

5. The Foreign Policy of the New Deal

 6. Trade Agreements Program (missing)

Second Flight:

7. Full Speed Ahead for National Defense

8. Roosevelt Defense Record - Navy of the U. S. A.

9. Roosevelt Defense Record - Army of the U. S. A.

10. Social Gains Mean National Strength

11. We Can Afford Life and Liberty

12. Labor Advances

If you haven’t voted yet, get to the polls tomorrow! I’ll be there too.

Sepia Saturday – Puzzling Penmanship

Sepia Saturday provides bloggers with an opportunity to share their history through the medium of photographs.

Today’s prompt suggests men and youths, sports, hats, men in shorts and socks or men in suits, and politics. The photo is of Irish Revolutionary Leader, Michael Collins, at the Senior Hurling Championship match against Dublin on September 12, 1921. He’s talking to the Kilkenny hurlers at Croke Park in Dublin.

I have selected a photograph with a man in a hat, youths, and a building in the background.

Thomas F. and Sarah Hoskins Home

The building is the home of the Thomas Franklin Hoskins family. The perspective makes the people seem small and what was surely a small house seem large. That’s Tom (in the hat) with three of his children. My grandfather, Thomas Hoskins, is on the right. On the far left is Ethel and the girl in the middle is Edna. They lived in Mystic, Iowa.

Sarah Stokes

You may remember Sarah Stokes from my post last week. That 11th child she gave birth to (Sarah Elizabeth Bryan), grew up and married Thomas Franklin Hoskins. Pictured here are three of Sarah Stokes’ grandchildren and son-in-law. 

Too bad the two Sarahs aren’t in the picture!


But it is the undecipherable handwriting on the side of the prompt picture that led me to choose my photograph today. This is what’s on the back of my photograph:

Believe me when I say it took me a while to decipher this. Here is my solution to this puzzle:

April 2 1913

Well I got hear all to Ottumwa I sayed with Rance last night I found him lots
better he looks bad the Ottumwa doctor said he had got passaned some how he give him medicine that helped him write away well i got home to day the rest of the folks wa all write with love sis Hoskins

Then the postcard was turned upside down and reads:
This is our house an tom an tommy an Edna an Ethel 

The postcard is addressed to
Frank Storms
IO  (Iowa)
route 3 

Thank goodness for the legible printing along the side to identify the people in the photograph!

Frank Storms was the nephew of Sarah E. and Thomas F. Hoskins. Frank’s mother, Joanna (Ann) Hoskins Storms, was living with him in Montrose. Lewis Storms, Ann’s husband, was deceased at the time. Although Sarah didn’t sign her name, she is the obvious author.

It seems that Sarah and Tom’s older son, Rance, had been sick and Sarah had gone to Ottumwa (Iowa) to stay with him. The doctor thought Rance had been poisoned. (Food poisoning?)  Although Rance did not look well, the medicine worked and Rance was feeling better.

Google maps estimates the trip from Mystic to Ottumwa takes an hour by car today. I don’t know Sarah’s mode of transportation or how long it took her to get to her destination. I wonder if she took a train?

Here’s a portion of Galbraith’s railway mail service map of Iowa from 1897 so that we can imagine Sarah’s route from Mystic, in Appanoose County, northeast to Ottumwa, in Wapello County.

I love this map! The illustrator had quite a sense of humor. For the full version, look here.

“One of eight large-scale pictorial maps of midwestern states showing routes and post offices of the Railway Mail Service. Designed by Chicago railway mail clerk Frank H. Galbraith to help employees of the Railway Mail Service quickly locate counties and post offices. The maps were rented for practicing or prospective workers who numbered over 6,000 and traveled over a million miles a year on the rails sorting mail. A printed title cartouche accompanied by a list of counties for each of the states by McEwen Map Company of Chicago is pasted on the maps.”

Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division; Reference: LC Railroad maps, 220

Now hurl yourself on over to the Sepia Saturday blog and see what others have puzzled together this week.