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A book based on the postcards received 100 years ago by a young woman working to help support her large family in Buffalo, New York.
A book based on the postcards received 100 years ago by a young woman working to help support her large family in Buffalo, New York.
52 backers pledged $3,477 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Helen’s Postcards

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.

Some of the postcards from the scrapbook.
Some of the postcards from the scrapbook.

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.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Supporter - Pledge $25 and to thank you, you’ll receive a signed, soft cover edition of the book Helen’s Postcards. The book will be shipped for free anywhere in the United States. International supporters —please see the expanded shipping rates below.

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    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    Supporter Plus - Pledge $45 and to thank you, you’ll receive two signed, soft cover editions of the book Helen’s Postcards. One book for yourself and one you can share with a friend (both books shipped for free to a single address in the United States).

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Friend - Pledge $50 and to thank you, you’ll receive a signed, soft cover copy of the book Helen’s Postcards. You will also receive a set of eight reproduction postcards (four different designs) from the postcards in the original scrapbook. The book will be shipped for free anywhere in the United States. International supporters —please see the expanded shipping rates below. You will be listed in the first edition of the book’s Acknowledgements as a Friend of the Project.

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    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    Patron - Pledge $125 and to thank you, you’ll receive a signed, limited edition, hardcover copy of the book Helen’s Postcards. You will also receive the set of eight reproduction postcards. The book will be shipped for free anywhere in the United States. International supporters —please see the expanded shipping rates below. You will be listed in the first edition of the book’s Acknowledgements as a Patron of the Project.

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    Pledge $175 or more About $175

    Benefactor - Pledge $175 and to express my thanks, you’ll receive a signed, limited edition, hardcover copy of the book Helen’s Postcards. You will receive the set of eight reproduction postcards. And, as an extra gift you will receive a limited edition, signed and numbered print inspired by the cards in Helen’s Postcards. You will be listed in the first edition of the book’s Acknowledgements as a Benefactor of the Project.

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    Angel - Pledge $300 or more and to express my thanks, you’ll receive a signed, limited edition, hardcover cover copy of the book Helen’s Postcards. You will receive the set of eight reproduction postcards. And, as a special gift to show how much I appreciate your support, you will receive an original, mixed media, postcard-themed, piece of art (12”x12”) that I will create for you. You will be listed in the first edition of the book’s Acknowledgements as a Project Angel.

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Funding period

- (31 days)