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Ms. Sara Rey Marcum attends a ball, 1909
On the surface, the postcard imaged here is just another bit of early 20th century ephemera, complete with a hastily scribbled note, puzzling signature, and one-cent stamp. Not far beneath the surface, however, lies the rest of the story.
In early March 1909, Columbia native Sara Rey Marcum (Sallie or Daut to most who knew her), then teaching in Harrisonburg, Virginia, mailed a postcard to her 12-year-old niece, addressed to "Ruth Paull / Columbia / Ky." and postmarked March 6, 1909 at "Mount Vernon on the Potomac, VA."
The description of the building, printed on the message side of the card, states:
"The Pension Building with an area 200 by 400 feet, is the largest brick building in the world. At the Inauguration Balls, 18,000 people have gathered within its vast court. A feature of the exterior is the frieze in which are sculptured the marching troops of the Civil War."(This structure, located in Washington, D.C., occupies a full city block and served for nearly 40 years as the bureaucratic center for all things related to military pensions. It's now a memorial to Civil War veterans.)
The note to young Ruth wasted neither words nor pencil lead:
"Am here & ok. / Is great / Where I attended the Ball last night - which is the grandest I've ever seen. / Daut."Although postmarked March 6, 1909, the note probably was written the day before, as The "Ball last night" almost certainly referred to the March 4th fete held in the Pension Building, the Inauguration Ball of President William Howard Taft, the last of several such celebration held there.
Ms. Marcum, showing her Adair County grit, refused to allow anything to derail her plans to attend the grand ball, including the blizzard that dropped 10 inches of snow in the D.C. area on the night of March 3rd into the morning of the 4th.
This story was posted on 2022-01-30 10:31:50
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More articles from topic Jim: History:
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Short takes from the Adair Co. News, page 1, mid-January 1922
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Memphis to Big Creek, 1936: Mr. W.L. Grady's wild ride home
Four miles to Columbia: a long ago journey recalled
August 1961: Sports briefs, and a question of time
Bits and pieces from across the county, early August 1931
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