A House on Hancock Street
Have you ever looked through a box of unsorted postcards and found several addressed to the same person in the same handwriting? This is the exact way the cards featured here were found. So many questions come to mind and a real life “Who?,” “When?,” “Where?,” “What?,” and “Why?” opportunity presents itself. This is truly postcard history.
In the last week of July 1906 and three more days in the next eight weeks, a resident at a house on Hancock Street in Brooklyn, New York, received a postcard that carried no message – only a mysterious signature, From Friend Louis.
The postcards are silly seashore souvenirs that suggest that after dark, but when the moon is bright, the beaches are filled with young lovers deeply engaged in what young lovers do best. The voyeuristic captions tell the whole story of the young couples that litter the beaches under the watchful eyes of a full moon with a very broad smile. The lovers are appropriately secluded on or around European style bathing-machines, abandon boats, or large rocks on stony beaches. And, the gambit of their actions start with a few kisses (XXXXs) and head toward some pretty serious cuddles, snuggles, nuzzles, and hugs.
On the Beach has the earliest postmark of July 30 at 12:30 PM in Brooklyn, New York’s STA. D. The receipt stamp (probably applied in a sorting room in another part of the same post office) reads 1:30 PM.
Whispers by Moonlight is postmarked two weeks later at the same post office. It has a receipt stamp that reads 7:30 AM on August 13th.
A High Old Time was posted ten days later on August 29 at 8:30 AM. Like the others this card is receipt-stamped one hour later.
Naughty Shadows was mailed September 22, 1906 at 12:30 PM, but unlike the others this one has a receipt stamp with the same time.
Each of these cards is evidence of how efficient the post offices of the era handled the mail. Don’t we all wish … ?
* * *
The house on Hancock Street is a three-story row-home most likely built in the 1880s or ‘90s. The basic footprint remains and it is part of a very well-kept neighborhood. It has recently been updated (you can tell by the windows) and likely remodeled. It is stylishly painted in earth-tones and has a well framed front door at the top of an open staircase flanked by intricate wrought-iron handrails. Surely it is a very welcoming place to go home to.
* * *
It is unknown to whom the cards were addressed. A fair guess would be the intended recipient was the 29-year-old son, William (a linotype operator for a local newspaper) rather than the 72-year-old, retired, head-of-household. Three others resided at the same address: a 30-year-old daughter, her husband (a bakery supply company salesman), and Margaret, a six-year-old granddaughter.
I know you want to ask, “Who was Louis?”
Please don’t, his identity is lost to the ages.