Posted 3 months ago
A few weeks ago I went into the Salvo's and was persuaded to buy a Postcard album with 110 odd postcards that date from the period before and after World War I. For me this was a new field of collecting to look at. In many ways it is a spin off from being part of Collector's Weekly. I am being constantly exposed to different collecting areas and ideas.
At any rate I bought a collection of cards that had been owned by a woman called Annie Maude Lankester.
Annie Maude Lankester (1871 - 1950) was also known as Maude Lankester and was born in Albury New South Wales and died here in Sydney at Manly in 1950. She was born into a wine-making family. Her grandfather was one of the pioneers of the Australian wine industry. Their property was called Emu Park outside a town called Ettamogah, north of the border town of Albury (565 km or 350 miles south of Sydney). Maude was a country girl born and bred. But her family was wealthy and she spent time in the "big smoke" Sydney as well. I believe they had a home there too.
Maude was a friend to many people who sent her some interesting postcards. There are some real beauties! This is just the first of a few that have interested me so far!
This one dates to around 1920, I believe. It has been written on at the back with a message from a friend who was visiting New York. It is written I suppose by an Australian in New York for the first time. He or she sent a few cards back to Maude. Two of them remain in her postcard album.
On the front is an artists drawing of Pershing Square, New York City.
On the reverse is a description of the card:
"Pershing Square located at Park Ave., and 42nd St. named in honor of the Commander-in-Chief of the American Expeditionary Forces during the World War, is the site of a magnificent, modern equipped hotels. At the left is the Murray Hill Hotel (proposed), next to it the Hotel Belmont, The Hotel Biltmore with The Grand Central Railway Terminal before it, and the Hotel Commodore.
This card is number N.Y. 415. The other card is marked N.Y. 204.
I've not been able to track down the publisher or the artist of the item.
The sender wrote on the card without adding a date:
"Have now been in this city for about two weeks, it is very noisy & the trams and trains run all night as well as day. You should see the number of cars and for travelling it is the cheapest place especially in the underground railroads. Am enjoying the trip much there are so many places to go and see. It is quite hot here at this time of the year. Yours sincerely
Details on the card of interest are the artist's depiction of a park on the southeast side of 42nd at Park Avenue. The park did not eventuate I believe, nor did the planned rebuilding of the "Murray Hill Hotel (proposed)".
In researching this card I learnt about Frederick Law Olmstead and the "City Beautiful Movement".
I also learnt about New York Terminal City. I believe this card is an artist's impression of a completed Terminal City.
"The February 2, 1913 opening of the Grand Central Terminal building showed the world a great work of engineering. Many people don't realize, however, that the railway terminal was just one part of a much larger plan. William John Wilgus, chief engineer of the project, worked with architects Reed & Stem from St. Paul and Warren & Wetmore of New York to develop not only a modern rail system, but also a city—Terminal City—to support the railroad's activities."
Ideas like these would have seemed futuristic to Americans but would certainly have impressed Maude at home in Ettamogah at Emu Farm.