In 1927 my grandmother Gertrud, with her two young children Elizabeth and Wolfgang and her mother Clara Häfner came from Germany to America to join her husband Martin Nauke in New York City. He emigrated in 1923. Among the few cherished possessions she brought with her were four albums of postcards sent to and from friends and family. When I was a young boy in the early 1960’s my grandmother lived with us. She would often sit and read through the postcards as one would re-read a favorite book. Sometimes we would sit together; she in her rocker and me beside her in my little chair. We would look and point at the beautiful pictures on the many postcards. I rediscovered the postcard albums in 1995. Seeing them again inspired me to conserve, research and curate what has now become Gertrud’s Postkarten.
“Gertrud’s Postkarten” presents my grandmother Gertrud’s postcard collection, which includes the collection of her husband Martin and spans years 1900 to 1945. The images on these cards exhibit the beauty of the expert printing and lithography of the time. The brief hand written messages offer a glimpse into the day-to-day life of two people who lived, worked, met and married in Germany around the time of World War I.
I invite you to read them and discover what the first text messaging was like at the beginning of the 20th century. It is my hope that some of you may choose to assist me in this project and will log in to check and correct the English translations. You can also help with on-line research. If you live in Germany you might assist with the research by visiting churches and archives. To help go to the Volunteer tab and fill in the form. There is also a Donation tab if you wish to support our efforts.
I hope you enjoy traveling through the past with Gertrud as I have.
Thank You, Daniel Thomas Nauke