Postcards "To The Folks Back Home"

By John M. Holman, Contributing Writer

Trolleys at the bandstand
A famous Hampton Beach "trolleys/bandstand" postcard.
Great Boars Head in background.

[A courtesy photo/postcard.]

Thousands of souvenir post cards are mailed from Hampton Beach annually to the folks back home by the tourists who frequent the beach during the summer months. Just how many are sent out, only the United Postal Service knows for sure, but then, they might be just guessing. Back in the 1900's, the post card cost the visitor only one penny for "domestic" mailing and two cents to a "foreign" country. Today, the cost to mail a "penny post card" is now 20 cents in the United States. Back then, the cost to purchase the post card was only a few cents. Now, they are 25 cents and up.

Between 1970 and 1983, the Tuck Memorial Museum received many post cards pertaining to Hampton and Hampton Beach from various donors. Some donations were comprised of whole collections, while others included only one or more post cards. But all helped to tell the history of the Beach and the Town.

As Curator of the Tuck Memorial Museum from 1970 until 1983, I found it was interesting to note while mounting them in albums, some of the choice messages written on them. Here are a few of those messages from years gone by:

1922: "This is where you want to come to spend money and enjoy yourself"; 1907: "Another day gone by ...."; 1910: "It is a dandy beach here; as smooth as a floor"; 1908: "Stopped by here for lunch"; 1912: "I am staying out near where the arrow is"; 1910: "We are having a bully time! Something doing all the time, fishing, clamming, etc. We are having a swell time with nothing excepted"; and,

1917: "Am spending the day at the beach"; 1915: "Having a good time. Lots of nice ;things to eat"; 1911: "Up here on my vacation. Getting good rest"; 1929: "Does this look natural? Sand and scenery here is lovely"; 1912: "Will be home Saturday"; and,

1925: "Having a swell time. Come on down!"; 1929: "Spent the night in Hampton. Having a great time"; and finally, 1946: "This is a picture of the old High School (Hampton Academy). They have a lovely new one now (Hampton Academy & High School, now the Junior High School), but no pictures as yet. Real cool here today. We don't go to the beach much. Too much polio around in places. None in town yet. Come again.".

"Having a great time .... wish you were here!"

[See also: Hand-made Post Cards From Hampton Beach, Ca. 1916,
and Send Me A Postcard!, by Verne Colby, 1981,
and, Hampton Reprint Postcards, 1974]