Postcards from Christmas Past

The holiday season is a time when we look back at the year gone by, take time to think about what we are grateful for, and reconnect with our loved ones. While some will brave the airports and highways to travel to their loved ones, others will settle for sending a holiday card that contains their love and best wishes. Cards and e-cards may be the missive of choice for holidays today, but in the past many chose postcards to send and receive holiday messages in Jacksonville. The JHS Archives has spent time going through our postcard collection and has decided to share with you some postcards from Christmas past.

Postmarked in 1907, this postcard is an example of the international community that called Jacksonville home. Sent from Mr. and Mrs. Mucklow, this message of “Best Wishes” and a “Bright New Year” made its way to North London, England. The Mucklows, who immigrated to Jacksonville from England, sent this postcard to one of their loved ones back home. The Mucklows selected a postcard that not only sent season’s greetings but had an image of “a lane in Jacksonville” which shows the warmer holiday weather that Jacksonville has.

Around the same time that the Mucklows were sending their postcard from Jacksonville across the pond to England, a member of a notable Jacksonville family was receiving a postcard of his own. Francis P. L’Engle, son of Porcher and Lucie L’Engle, was living on Gilmore Street when he received this postcard from K.G.D. who was traveling to Savannah. Perhaps this is a card from a business acquaintance, such as a fellow attorney, or a friend who was traveling for the holidays.

Not everyone in Jacksonville during the holiday season lived here. Jacksonville served as a major travel destination for those in the North who were seeking a warmer climate for Christmas. Irene Mayer received this postcard as she was spending her holiday traveling through Jacksonville in 1916. Perhaps Irene spent time sightseeing or stayed a night at the Windsor Hotel. Regardless, the friend who sent this postcard was certain that Irene and her companions were having the best of times spending the holiday season in Jacksonville.

At the end of 1917, Camp Joseph E. Johnston was just receiving its first group of enlisted soldiers and officers who were beginning their training to serve in World War I. These men, who arrived in November of 1917, spent the holiday season stuck at the camp. One soldier attempted to spread some holiday cheer when he sent this postcard to Shirley Pelkey, perhaps a friend or his sweetheart back home. In the postcard, this soldier describes the vastness of the new camp and how even walking back to one’s barracks could result in wandering lost for hours. This is no doubt one of the many postcards that young men training to fight in World War I sent home before they were sent to the battlefields.

The holiday season is the time of year to spend with the ones you love, or at least send them your love and well wishes with a card. For a long time, postcards were the most popular way for the people of Jacksonville to not only send their season’s greetings to those they cared about, but for them to receive letters of holiday joy in return. Whether your loved ones are across the ocean, traveling, or in the same city, it is important to stay connected and send them your love and warm wishes as the year comes to a close.

Emily Cottrell
Jacksonville Historical Society Interim Archivist