Place item was collected
Point of Discovery/Informant Bio
James Johnson was raised in Logan, Utah and currently lives in Hyrum Utah. He is a 66 year old Caucasian male with no college degree, but he has a past reputation of being an amazing drafts man for a local Architecture Company. He is currently retired and is not working unless it is in his garden. He has two brothers and one sister. He is the only one in his family that is LDS, all the rest of them are not religious. His hobbies are: working around his fish pond, growing plants, reading, playing computer games, tinkering with his antique car, working on home improvements and completing his family’s genealogy. He is my friend and future father in law.
This interview was conducted without anyone else in the living room. His wife however, was in the kitchen cooking something. As James and I sat on the floor looking at his collection piece, he stated, “I have this post card collection because none of my siblings wanted the book when our parents died. I knew how valuable it was so I took it home with me. These post cards were sent from unknown places in Germany by friends to my distant relatives. The cards were stored in a large old scrapbook that was later sent to my family after a few post cards were mailed. The post cards date more than one hundred years old. The oldest one that I can read is 1902. They are in a language other than English. Since they are so old some of the writing isn’t visible anymore. The writing that was visible was small and all over the white spaces on the cards. These factors make them hard to read. But by looking at them I can tell that whoever sent them was trying to communicate, like others would do when they send out letters to family or friends. With everyday updates, encouragement, and questions. Rita Rust and John Rust are who some of the post cards are written out to. The pictures on the front of the post cards have held up well and are clearly visible. On that same side of the post card, I can see who the post cards are from. On the back, I can see where they were sent to and the postage stamps are also visible.”
The picture on the left is of three post cards sent to James’s distant family members from unknown places in Germany. These cards are stored in a large scrapbook. The second picture is of the front cover of the scrapbook. All the post cards are stored in this book.
This scrapbook sits on a high shelf in the living room collecting dust. It is large, brown and square. The pages are black on the inside and there are about 20 pages full of post cards. This book is so old that some of the pages are falling out. It is about a foot and a half long and about a foot and a half wide. The post cards were sent through the mail, maybe weekly to James’s distant relatives. The post cards were sent to and from unknown places in Germany. The pictures on the front of the post cards showed many different things from Christmas trees to onions to babies with bottles. Every one of the post cards are extremely hard to read, because of the tiny words that were written in a different language and in what looked to be cursive. We were able to read a few things on them, like the name Albert Rust and the dates on some. “And that’s the date, the 26th of the 12th month 1902. I bet that’s the date, and they wrote it differently.” Being able to find this date on these post cards was quite the discovery. James may not know a lot of information about the family members who received these post cards, but having these post cards helps him to feel connected to his distant family members. When James’s children were growing up, he tried to share it with them, but they showed no interest in it. Even now that they are adults they show no interest. Because of this, James doesn’t share this book with his children anymore. James however, still feels that this book holds some extreme value to his life, because it reminds him of his distant relatives and their past.
Intro to Folklore, English 2210
Lynne S. McNIEll
Semester and year
G8: Objects with/of Customary Use
Squires, Aubrey, "Post Cards Collection" (2017). USU Student Folklore Fieldwork. Paper 201.