Postcard Messages

Postcards provide us with an interesting view of those who sent news to friends and family through the postal system before the age of mobile telephones and email. Reading some of the messages in this collection provides a glimpse into how material culture can illustrate everyday lives.

The messages on the back of the postcards were written by patients, hospital staff and visitors, and tourists to Montreal. They were used for a variety of purposes, including news and updates about illness, invitations to an event, contest entries, and trip souvenirs. 

Early postcards did not have a space for a message.

Publisher: Unknown
Date: 1905
Hôtel-Dieu Hospital, view from park looking east with orchard in foreground.

Publisher: Illustrated Post Card Co. Montreal-No. 150
Date: Unknown
Hôtel-Dieu Hospital.

In spite of clear indications for the placement of stamps, message and address, senders of postcards were often "creative" in the positioning.

Publisher: Unknown
Date: c1905
Allan Memorial Institute.

Publisher: Unknown
Date: c1907
Alexandra Hospital for Children.

"Alexandra Hospital Charron Street Montreal Canada. This is a P.C [post card] of the hospital. I have put on the right two crosses which shows two of our windows. This card was taken some time ago as there has been a lot of additions since it was taken. This only shows half of it. There are a lot more buildings at the back of these, also where I have put some crosses is where there is another large building. There is also a nice tennis court in front and nice lawns. Hope all is well."

Many postcards were sent by tourists, giving information on the city of Montreal. Sometimes, they were sent as invitations to events or to enter a contest.

Publisher: Montreal Import Co., No 116
Date: 1907
Royal Victoria Hospital.

"Greetings, wishing you and Mother a happy New Year. We are well here, hoping the same of you This picture shows one of the finest institutions in America for the sick. It was given to Montreal by one man."

Publisher: Illustrated Post Card Co., Montreal. No. 1153. Printed in Saxony
Date: 1909
Royal Victoria Hospital.

Publisher: Unknown
Date: c1906
Hôpital de la Miséricorde Orphanage.

"Montreal Oct 4th 1906. Madame, you are cordially invited to attend the general reunion of the Lady Patronnesses of La Creche, at the Convent of the Sisters of Misericorde, 470 East, Dorchester Street, Tuesday, October the 9th at 3 o'clock p.m."

Publisher: Unknown
Date: c1959
Sainte-Justine Hospital.

La Poule aux œufs d'or ("The Hen with the Golden Eggs") is the title of a Radio-Canada television game show first broadcast from 1958 until 1966.

Publisher: Unknown
Date: 1942
Hôtel-Dieu Hospital.

"9 October 1942 Montreal Hotel Dieu. My Dear Mother and companions, Your prayers traced a favourable echo in Heaven and I have the honour to tell you that my condition is improving and that the diagnosis is not the same." (free translation)

Publisher: Unknown
Date: 1951
St-Joseph de Rosemont Hospital.

"5.5.54 Hello Ella, here is a picture of the Institute where I work, it is as nice as it is agreeable See you soon."

Cards were often sent by the patients of the institute as well as staff. Our other cards were personal messages to friends and family.

Publisher: The Valentine & Sons publishing CO., Montreal and Toronto. Printed in Great Britain
Date: 1912
Verdun Asylum near Montreal (Douglas Mental Health University Institute).

"Recive your postal glad to here that you are all well I am going to suffer lot but all for the Best I suppose I expect to go next or after It is a fine day Goodby Love to all."

Publisher: Novelty Mfg & Art Printing Co., Montreal
Date: Unknown
Royal Victoria Hospital.

"Dear Sir, I received your card and would like to go but Father needs me at home and in that way, I don’t think that I can go. Give W Trudell my best regards."

Publisher: S. J. Hayward 1448 Mountain St. Montreal
Date: 1935
Shiner's Hospital for Crippled Children.

"This shows the centre and one half of the building. The other end is the same. X is my window."


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