News Stories

Postcards from the Edge

Inside the Bentley Historical Library’s vast postcard collection are pictures and missives from U-M spanning the centuries. We pulled out a few postcards, and their accompanying messages, to take you back to U-M’s bygone years.

by Lara Zielin



Waterman Gymnasium, University of Michigan

November 8, 1904

To: Mr. Samuel B. Richards, Salem, Ohio

Dear Pete, This is a little bit bigger than the old YMCA gymnasium, is it not? Has an indoor track, 12 laps to the mile. I am well and hop you are the same. Have you gotten your room fixed up yet? Write to me and tell me the news. I like to get your letters. Yours, Rich

Kappa Kappa Gamma

December 1921

To: Miss Gertrude M. Stewart, Detroit MI

Dear Aunt Gertrude, I received your letter this morning and have already sewed my new cuffs and collar on my dress. They look just fine and I want to thank you for spending so much of your time “fussing” for me. Last night I went to the Armory with Bob Kerney, the boy with whom I went to the Kappa Kappa Gamma dance. Tuesday Wes took me to the mandolin concert given at Hill Auditorium. He gave me the box of candy that I won. John Garlinghouse (?) is pledged to Trigon, a club. I understand fraternities are too expensive for him. The SAE’s (Sigma Alpha Epsilons) were again rather slow…

Senior Parade, Commencement Day, U of M, Ann Arbor, Mich.

September 26, 1913
To: Mr. E.P. Nutting, Moline, IL

It will be a long time before my face will be seen in such a picture as that on the other side of the card. However, I am living in hopes – or rather, for the present, at 338 East Catherine. Like the town very well. Have registered; will take Political Economy… Not dead yet. Kopp

Alumni Memorial Hall

March 9, 1912
To: Mr. Bundids (?) Potter

Dear Papa, Spent a long time at the Davis home, and then the art exhibit at Memorial Hall, then took a trolley and also hack ride about the city. Spent a very happy day. Lina

Block M at Ferry Field, Ann Arbor, Mich.

May 23, 1917

To: Miss Jennie M. Twichell, Livingston County MI

Dear Jennie, Did you know Gregor had joined the ambulance corps and expects to sail for France either June 2 or 16? He left here 10 days ago. We can’t make it seem true some way but it is. Maria is not very well this spring. Come see us when you are in town. Winifred.

Mosher Jordan Hall (Girls’ Dormitory) University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich.

November 23, 1940

To: Mr. & Mrs. E.J. Mill, 435 Franklin, Belvidere, IL

Dear Folks: Thanks for package which arrived today – Saturday. Michigan sure ran over Ohio State today. Harmon greatest of great. Got highest grade in six week’s exam of 30 students in class. Very busy. English walnuts, dates very good. Best wishes, Ellen (?)

University Library, U of M, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Oct 12, 1915

To: Mrs. Thomas Weir, Harbor Beach

I got here at last. Charles and Aunt Cassie met me at the station. I came out alone. Made the grade all right – I haven’t had much doing yet. Art

New Science Hall from Campus, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

December 1930

To: Mrs. C.H. Gleason, Grand Rapids

Dear Boss I: Just got through having a brain teaser in economics in the back part of this bldng. Gosh my marks are getting worse and worse. I can’t get on to the style in which they like to have test papers written down here. My dish washing companion got fired last Saturday + is a waiter today. Marcus

New Library

February 1931

To: Mrs. C.H. Gleason, Grand Rapids

Dear Boss I: Finally struggled through my exams and got terrible grades. I don’t dare tell you what they were. Feel rather down-hearted about them. But I couldn’t remain so as long as Sarah and I went to the J-hop last night and had a grand time! Lost my main collar button just as I got there; got another one from one of the checkers. Also had trouble getting my coat when going home. Might be in town next week end. Marcus.

Ann Arbor, Mich. – A Campus Pet

November 3, 1910

To: Mr. Harry Weber, Detroit MI

Dear Harry, A bunch of the fellows including Ernie and myself are coming in to Detroit next Saturday night and go skating at the D.A.R. – doubles of course. Can’t you arrange to go with us. We are to meet at the rink about 7:00 or 7:30. Howard S.