A Family Photo Postcard Jackpot

1900s Photo Post Card

Postcard front was taken by Lewis Reed at Pope’s Creek Maryland on the Potomac River ca. 1915

1900s Photo Post Card

Postcard addressed to Ethlene Thomas from L. Reed. Note the cost of the postage stamp is just one penny.

Lewis Reed’s albums contain several hundred of these photo postcards dating from approximately 1907-1915. What makes this particular photo postcard so special is, it was sent from Lewis Reed to Ethlene Thomas. Lewis Reed married the former Ethlene Thomas of Frederick County on June 15, 1920. This is a real photo postcard — one in which the photographic paper on which the photo was developed was itself then sent as the postcard. The stamp is a one penny stamp with the image of Benjamin Franklin. The Benjamin Franklin series stamp was issued by the U.S. Post Office between 1908 and 1922.

What I love about the address is how it’s addressed merely to “Miss Ethlene Thomas, New Market, Frederick Co, MD. I have a feeling, however, that the postcard would have found it’s way even had “New Market” been left off the card.

The card reads:

Dear Friend,

You can look for me Friday afternoon between 6 and 7 o’clock or sooner, if it is not raining. I will be there sooner if I can.

As ever, L. Reed

Kodak made photo paper in standard 3 1/2 by 5 1/2 postcard size with “Post Card” printed on the back. Lewis Reed developed all of his own photographs. He had a darkroom in his house —  in the kitchen, to be exact — and worked at night to develop the negatives. This gave him the ability to take the paper into his dark room and produce a real photo postcard. This one is definitely a treasure.

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About Reed Brothers

I am a co-owner of the former Reed Brothers Dodge in Rockville, Maryland. Lewis Reed, the founder of Reed Brothers Dodge was my grandfather. We were a family-owned and operated car dealership in Rockville for almost a century. I served in the United States Air Force for 30 years before retiring in the top enlisted grade of Chief Master Sergeant in July 2006. In 2016, I received the Arthur M. Wagman Award for Historic Preservation Communication from Peerless Rockville for documenting the history of Reed Brothers Dodge in both blog and book format. This distinguished honor recognizes outstanding achievement by writers, educators, and historians whose work has heightened public awareness of Rockville’s architectural and cultural heritage, growth and development.

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