Hints of a life in an album of postcards

Fannie's Postcard Album Cover
Fannie’s Postcard Album Cover

Every historian (amateur or professional) needs primary sources – personal documents, diaries, and the like – to tell an individual’s story authoritatively and with insight. That works for heads of state, government functionaries and compulsive journal keepers, but these kinds of documents are not always available for ordinary people. We were lucky in the case of Mary Frances Hopkins Leonard, more familiar to us as Sunday school teacher “Fannie” Leonard; we have several dozen postcards written by her or sent to her, between 1903 and 1912. She is important to us as one of the “People of the Windows,” with her name and those of her Sunday school pupils on one of the windows of the East Wall of the Lydia B. Cannon Museum.

Highlights from her postcard collection, in gallery format, can be found by following this link. The postcards are the equivalent of today’s email or text message, or perhaps a Facebook posting; the messages were brief and were delivered usually within 24 hours.

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