Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas Letters from the Past

From the collection of the Hanley sisters
Post Submitted by Karreen Busch

            Happy Holidays!  It’s early December, and the time is here to send out your holiday greeting cards.  The first Christmas cards originated in the mid-1800s in England, but the practice has since become a worldwide tradition for people of many backgrounds and many different religions.
            The Hanley sisters, of the historic Hanley Farm in Central Point, received dozens of cards each December from the 1910s to 1980s.  Mary Hanley, one of the sisters and the last descendant of the family to live on the farm, deeded the farm to the Southern Oregon Historical Society.  In addition to hundreds and hundreds of artifacts, the society was also given all of the Christmas correspondence to Mary, Martha, and Claire Hanley.  While most of the cards contained only a signature from the sender, there were a few cards with longer letters inside.  Here are two interesting samples from 1944, the year before the end of World War II:

Sent to: Misses Mary, Martha, and Claire Hanley, Medford Oregon
A “Thank You” card from: Marilyn S., Harbor Oregon

Inside of card: Thanks a million for the cute pin, and the lovely handkerchief and pretty handkerchief holder.  Love Marilyn

Back of card:
Dear Everybody:
Merry Christmas a little late. Yes, I got lots of things for Christmas. I think the best thing I got was a bike. Today I’m learning to ride it. I took a spill in a rosebush last nite, Ouch. I got lots of other things like 2 sweters, 3 slips, a new purse, a pair of cute suspenders and a charm bracelet, 3 pins and lots of other things. Thanks again
Love Marilyn

Sent to: Claire Hanley, Rt. 2, Medford Oregon
A family picture, with caption, from: Ghangle, Medford Oregon

We pause on this Christmas morn in sober reflection, and gratitude for the blessings that have been ours.
With the coming of the new year, we extend our greetings, and good wishes for 1945.
The Ghangles


            The relations between the card senders and the Hanley sisters remain unknown.  There are multiple boxes filled with the Hanley sisters’ Christmas cards, ready for perusal at the Southern Oregon Historical Society’s Research Library.  The cards provide a fun insight to the past, and reading them might even help you compose your own upcoming Christmas letters.

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