Though occasionally vacation postcards can be entertaining, they often contain the most ironically mundane commentary regarding the weather or scheduling. I find the most interesting postcards are the ones that involve births, deaths, marriages, relocations, war, homecomings, graduations, illness, and even lost pets. Those are the ones where I find the most interesting tidbits of individual humanity and anthropology on a larger scale.
An article published in 2005 by the U.S. National Library of Medicine notes “Not only can the illustrations on postcards reveal a considerable amount of information about hospitals in the early twentieth century, but the messages, addresses, postmarks, and stamps can also offer a glimpse of the lives of ordinary citizens and their perceptions of the health care system.” (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1175805/)
Here we read about one such hospital experience. The sender expresses relief in having made it through surgery, and makes note of the diversity of her fellow patients inside McCleary Hospital near Kansas City, Missouri. I think most people have mixed feelings about hospitals — perhaps, not thrilled about yourself or a family member falling ill, but grateful to have a hospital where you can seek care. I’m glad that Mrs. Goetsch seems to have had a mostly positive hospital stay.
Here is the place I am and I guess the place to get well. Had my operation and am over the worst I hope so. Sure meet people from all over the country, young and old, fat and small. Hope from now I will feel better.
Postmark: Excelsior Springs, Missouri – May 18, 1942
To: Mrs. Mable Kueck – Janesville, Wisconsin
McCleary Thornton Minor Hospital
McCleary Clinic and Hospital remains in existence as McCleary – Thornton – Minor Hospital in Excelsior Springs.
History of McCleary Clinic and Hospital
3 thoughts on “Had My Operation [1942 – Excelsior Springs, MO]”
that’s a cool postcard! The picture on the front, is that how the hospital looked like? Because my first thought was like: “Oh, nice hotel!”
Yes, that’s what the hospital looked like in the 1940s, as depicted by an artist. In this time period, it was common to showcase public or civic buildings such as hospitals on postcards as a matter of town pride. The near end of the building seems to have survived into the present. Here is a photo of it: https://www.flickr.com/photos/thebouncingczech/8656248962
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Oh, that’s cool! It’s great that they were able to keep a part of the building in original conditions. Thanks for the info!
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