16-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Thursday, June 8, 1911: I got my camera this morning which I had sent for about a week ago. I have a kind of cold that is not to my liking.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
I didn’t realize until I read this diary entry that relatively inexpensive, easy-to-use cameras apparently were widely available a hundred years ago.
I was also surprised that Grandma received the camera only about a week after she ordered it. It often takes almost that long today to receive items that I order off the internet.
Grandma probably needed to go into Watsontown to pick up the package that contained the camera since rural parcel post didn’t begin until 1913. According to Wikipedia: “On January 1, 1913, parcel post service began, providing rural postal customers with package service along with their regular mail and obviating a trip to a town substantial enough to support an express office.”
Local merchants across the US had strongly opposed parcel post because they thought that it would give catalog companies an unfair advantage and drive them out of business, but policies were finally changed and it was implemented.
*Photo Source: Camera-Wiki.org (Photo by Steve Harwood)