Greetings from the Smithsonian

Messages on Postcards

The messages on the postcards give us a glimpse of our visitors from times past. Postcards capture a moment in our history, a brief look at what visitors thought of the Smithsonian, Washington, D.C., and, most importantly it seems, the weather.

patent6x.jpg - 19421 Bytes   patent6backx.jpg - 26422 Bytes   Arrived here O.K. two hours late. Leave tonight 7-35 pm. Bright & cool today. Overcoat feels good but I wouldn't be back in St. Pete. Everybody talking war. Hope you have a safe journey home. You will find soldiers guarding all buildings
Harry D.

Postmark Washington, D.C., April 10, 1917 - 4 days after the United States entered World War I. The message reflects the growing concerns over the war.

Dec 28 - 1943
Dear Mom:
You'll never no what a nice day we have had & I have enjoyed every minute of it. This Post Card will let you no of one place Ive seen while in Wash. Its a real nice town & sure wish I could stay here. Well no chance. Must close with Love
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Postmark Washington, D.C., December 29, 1943 - written on a Smithsonian Institution "Free Post Cards for Service Men" postcard. Note how the stamp box has been marked "Free" for being sent by a service man.

ai8x.jpg - 20991 Bytes   ai8backx.jpg - 21469 Bytes   Dear Aunt Mary
Just a line to let you know we got this far with out any trouble not even a flat so far
Love from us both Doris & Paul

Written at top of card: The lilac bushes are in bloom here

Postmark Mount Vernon, VA, May 1, 1931. Doris and Paul are among the growing number of automobile tourists, taking advantage of the mobility the car provides.

Its the Hotest place I ever was in.
Having a fine time.
C Luis [unreadable]
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Postmark Washington, D.C., July 3, 1908. He seems to have overcome the weather and enjoyed his visit.

postoffice1x.jpg - 20098 Bytes   postoffice1backx.jpg - 21065 Bytes   Dear Mrs Myers
I am in the city but cant say I like it so very much. Mama says you help her. I am so glad you do. Take good care of her until I get home.

Postmark Washington, D.C., Aug 23, 1918. Not all of our visitors are thrilled by their visit to Washington. Bart offered a candid assessment of the city.

Hello Hubby -               12/17/1918
Wish you were here too. We are going to visit this place and the monument this afternoon. We were through the Capitol building this morning (and Horticulture building.) We leave tomorrow afternoon about 2:30 P.M for Jacksonville. This is a beautiful place and I want to visit it again when we can have more time here
With Love, Lillian.
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Postmark Washington, D.C., December 17, 1918. Note the address "Headquarters Co.; 308th Motor Supply Train; Am. E.F. [American Expeditionary Forces], A.P.O [Army Post Office] 762." A wife was writing to her husband who was still in the armed services at the end of World War I.

nhb6x.jpg - 18498 Bytes   nhb6backx.jpg - 24366 Bytes   Dear Pat,
Is your vacation over yet? You had a nice long one, eh? Lil and I are having a swell time. It's rained a couple of days but that didn't make any difference to us. See you soon.
Love, Marcia

Postmark Washington, D.C., Aug 29, 1945. Written shortly after the end of World War II, Marcia enjoyed her visit, despite the weather.

Thursday A.M.
Went thru this building yesterday - a wonderful museum - also went up in Monument & visited Lincoln Memorial - Going out to Mt. Vernon today. Bright sunshine, so it will be warmer -
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Postmark Washington, D.C., April 13, 1933. The weather is always a popular topic on postcards. L.A. also shows us the standard tourist route.

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Smithsonian Institution Archives, Institutional History Division