Helen’s Postcards is a project to publish a unique scrapbook of 100 year old postcards making them available to a wider audience. Supporters of the project will receive a full color, soft cover book of about 65-70 pages. The book will contain images of many of the best postcards. The messages on the backs of some of the postcards will be transcribed and annotated with stories and background about Helen and her friends and family.
It’s unusual to have an intact scrapbook filled with nearly 400 postcards sent to one person a century ago. The postcards were mailed between 1907 and 1918 to Helen Thrun Nadratowski. Helen was the daughter of immigrants and the oldest of ten children in Buffalo, New York. She left school after the 8th grade to start working and help support her family.
As a young woman, Helen held a number of different jobs and her circle of friends grew. She kept in touch with friends and family through postcards. Back then, one of the fastest and cheapest ways to communicate was to send a postcard. With a postcard you could send quick messages, a happy birthday, a corny joke, make plans and even flirt. One hundred years ago young people were using postcards very much like email and texting is used today.
I own the scrapbook because it belonged to my great grandmother. Originally I wanted to digitize the postcards simply to allow my large, extended family to all have their own copies. As the project got underway, I realized the scrapbook would be of interest to a wider audience than just family members. Anyone who enjoys old postcards will obviously appreciate the book. Helen’s Postcards will also be a document of the lives of young, working class Americans in the 1910’s. It will offer a glimpse into the world of Polish and German immigrants, young men going off to war, some matchmaking and a hint of romance.
Risks and challenges
As of January 2015, the book is outlined and images for the finished book are in the process of being selected and annotated. Some of the more interesting cards are being transcribed for the book and, in a few instances, translated into English. I anticipate sending the books to the printers in the spring. The printing will be done locally and I anticipate shipping copies of the book to supporters this summer.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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