Archives of Appalachia

A Unit of the Center for Appalachian Studies & Services at East Tennessee State University

“Just wanted to say hello…”

This selection of postcards comes from the W.B. “Pat” Watson Collection. Mr. Watson operated Pat’s Trading Post, a salvage and collectible store, at 106 Main Street in Johnson City, Tennessee during the 1930s and 1940s. Later, Mr. Watson managed an insurance company. Many of the documents in this collection came from his grandfather, James F. Beals. The postcards shown here are from the early 20th century and feature various locations across Tennessee.

Interestingly, not all of the postcards in this collection were sent with the common “Wish you were here…” traveler’s sentiment. Instead, many of the postcards served as a means of keeping up with friends and family. They were perfect for the times when one wanted to say “hello,” but did not have quite enough news to write a letter. Affixed with a one cent stamp, these postcards were a means to communicate health, news about the town, visiting friends, domestic work, and gossip (just to name a few). Both the images and the correspondence give us an insight to the past and are a part of communication history.

Click on an image to learn more about the postcard. The right sidebar has a navigation feature to browse through the image gallery. If you have a story to tell or have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below! We’d love to hear from you!


About Laura Smith

I'm the Education & Outreach Archivist for the Archives of Appalachia at East Tennessee State University. Please contact me if you have any questions about the collections or visiting the Archives.

4 comments on ““Just wanted to say hello…”

  1. Charlene
    June 29, 2012

    Love the postcards. I was just wondering are you planning on adding more? Are you planning on showing the backs that have messages written on them?

  2. smithle1
    June 29, 2012

    Hi Charlene. Thanks for the comment! For this set of postcards, I either transcribed or paraphrased the message content to save blog space. There were only two that had messages on the back from this set — relating to family illnesses. But yes, for future blog posts I may scan and include the backs.

  3. gpcox
    March 3, 2013

    These are fantastic.

  4. smithle1
    March 4, 2013

    Thanks, gpcox! We think so, too!

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This entry was posted on June 26, 2012 by in 20th Century, Appalachian History, From Our Collection, Photographs, Postcards.
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