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St. Mary’s School, Raleigh, N.C.

Saint Mary's_1908_web

Our featured Flashback Friday postcard this week depicts a nostalgic view of the Saint Mary’s School campus which now exists only in long ago lost memories. Sure, Smedes Hall and East and West Rock are still there, but the view today is a far cry from how it appeared in 1908 when this card was dropped into the letterbox.

Saint Mary's_1908_back_web

There is a message written on the front of this card, but, as it was written in the ‘grassy lawn’ area, it is unfortunately illegible.

Apparently the sender didn’t realize that in 1907 the US Post Office had rescinded the prohibition against writing a message on the ‘address only’ side of a postcard. That edict ushered in the era of the ‘divided back’ postcard, which continues to this day.

Savvy Flashback Friday readers will recognize the significance of the upside down stamp.

The postcard below depicts the exact same view of Saint Mary’s campus as our featured card, but this one is not color-tinted. Both were published by the Rotograph Co. and mailed in 1908.

Saint Mary's_1908_b&w_web

It was common practice among many postcard publishers of the era to release view-cards depicting the same subject using the same photographic image as both a black and white halftone or color-tinted image. It is unusual, however, to find such ‘dual identity’ postcards in the same collection for comparison.

Saint Mary's_1908_b&w_back_web

Here is a transcript of this very long and detailed message:

I did not mean to wait so long before writing to you but I was so busy before I left Neuse I put off all my writing till I got home. I came home Saturday / was very sorry I could not come on with you. I stayed at Neuse two weeks after my school closed. I haven’t unpacked my trunk yet. I dread it too / have to get at it this morning though. You asked where I stopped at Wake Forest at the anniversary. I stopped at Dr. Poteats / guess you know them. You must write to me again soon / always glad to hear from you. Annie Futrell

My address is Woodland, N.C.

Unlike our other correspondent, Annie seems to have known about the lifting of the ‘address this side only’ rule, as she drew her own dividing line on the message/address side of the card!

The photo below shows a similar view of the Saint Mary’s campus as seen about 1915, a few years after the monumental neoclassical portico had been added to the facade of Smedes Hall, replacing the original Greek Revival version.

State Archives of North Carolina photo

State Archives of North Carolina photo

You can read all about the history of Saint Mary’s School, its Greek Revival architectural character, and the grandiose Smedes Hall porch in this earlier Flashback Friday post.

Photo by Michael Zirkle Photography, courtesy RHDC

Photo by Michael Zirkle Photography, courtesy RHDC


Smedes Hall and East and West Rocks have been designated Raleigh Historic Landmarks by the Raleigh Historic Development Commission.


Our Flashback Friday ‘tinted halftone’ postcard and its black and white halftone cousin were published by the Rotograph Co. of New York City.

The Rotograph Co.   1904-1911  New York, NY

A major printer and publisher of postcards. Founded by Ludwig Knackstedt of Knackstedt & Nather in partnership with Arthur Schwarz of Neue Photographische Gesellschaft. They also took over the National Art Views Co. in 1904 to gain quick access to American views. A wide variety of card types were also issued in 19 letter series, but they are best known for their view-cards in color rotogravure. Rotograph produced about 60,000 postcards that were printed in Hamburg, Germany and Nancy, France.

Rotograph logo


“Flashback Friday” is a weekly feature of Goodnight, Raleigh! in which we showcase vintage postcards depicting our historic capital city. We hope you enjoy this week end treat!


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