Thanking You for Your Kindness

This morning I drove over the Sagadahoc Bridge on my way in to the library – still closed – to choose a postcard for today’s blog post. I admired the way the Sagadahoc County Courthouse – also closed – stood directly ahead against the city skyline.

Evidently, E. Marion Freeman also admired the structure. She chose a postcard depicting the prominent civic building when writing a brief note on the front of the card to Marion L. Murray, of East Boothbay.

2010.8.1.216b, “Court House and Soldiers Monument, Bath, ME,” from the Oscar R. Marsh Collection

The postcard reads:

My dear Miss Murray

I thank you very much for the votes you sent me. You may send the votes either here or Boston, whichever is the more convenient for you. Again thanking you for your kindness. I am yours very sincerely

E. Marion Freeman

Freeman’s choice of postcard seems appropriate to the subject of her note. Even if we don’t know what the votes were for, it’s clear that the women were participating in some kind of civil process. We can rule out only one possibility: at the time this postcard was sent, it would still be 15 years before women had the right to vote in public, political elections.

Freeman’s officious language disgusies the fact that this is a message between two teenagers. In 1905, E. Marion Freeman was just 14 years old. Her correspondent, Miss Murray, was 15.

Freeman, who is listed in the U.S. Census as Ethel Marion Freeman, was the daughter of Frederick W. and Ida M. Freeman. Mr. Freeman was the Superintendent of Schools, and his daughter would go on to become a teacher herself. She attended Wellesley College in 1909-1910, Colby College in 1910-1911, and also studied at Boston University and Harvard Summer School. She returned to Bath to teach at North Street Primary School, and later at Morse High School.

2010.8.1.216b, “Court House and Soldiers Monument, Bath, ME,” from the Oscar R. Marsh Collection

This postcard was sent in 1905, but it was probably printed before 1901, when Post Office Order No. 1447 authoized printers to shorten the phrase “Private Mailing Card” to “Post Card.” It was forbidden to write anything other than the address on the back of a postcard until 1907.

This postcard is part of the Oscar R. Marsh Postcard Collection in the Sagadahoc History & Genealogy Room at Patten Free Library.

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