Rabies Treatment in the early 1900s

Amazing what you can learn from one little postcard!  My great-grandfather, James F. Newell, was treated for rabies in 1911.  He had to travel  to Chicago and stay there a month while he got the injections at the Chicago Pasteur Institute, one of many such clinics set up around the world by Louis Pasteur.

Here’s the card, sent to Leo, his 13 year-old son.

Mr. Leo Newell, Virginia, Ill

Chicago Apr 29, 1911
Well Leo it is raining today & yesterday. I am doing very well.
When I get home I will be a good sieve. I will do to sift most anything.
They punch two holes with a needle every day in my stomach.
Hope you are still improving. There is a man here 70 years old taking
JF Newell

The clinic was located at 812 Dearborn Ave (now 812 North Dearborn Street) in Chicago — looks just about the same today! ¬†Thanks to Dr. Bert Hansen of Baruch College, CUNY for the b&w postcard and for deciphering the word “treatment”!

And here’s a fascinating letter from the Chicago Pasteur Institute summarizing its success to date (as of 1908). ¬†Thanks to Caitlin Hawke of the Pasteur Foundation for sharing this. ¬†It is signed by the director, Antonio Lagorio.

Vintage St. Patrick’s Day Post Cards

I was curious about the imagery used one hundred years ago.  Out of 17 different card designs, no leprechauns!  Harps appear on 5 cards; white smoking pipes, scenery (esp. castles) and poems all appear on 7 cards, and shamrocks appear on all 17 cards.  Enjoy!

From the Leo A. Newell collection,  1909-1912.  From Sent from Ashland and Pleasant Plains, Illinois by Alma Newell, Bertha Newell, Uncle Tom (Butler), Aunt Mollie (Mary Butler Doolin), and Bertie (Alberta) Newell.




Shamrock Moving and Closing Over Seven Hours — A One Minute Movie

I noticed this plant opening and closing pretty dramatically, so I did a little time lapse movie. Photos were taken every minute and are played here at 1/6 sec. Thanks to all the folks (esp. Jupey) who show up in the background!

I used the program CHDK.  But I wish I could figure out how to turn off the sound and minimize the time the screen is on.  Anyone?

Sunday fun

Leo finally got to meet one of the baby heads at the MFA after years of slowly driving past.

We went to see the new American Wing. Leo spent 40 minutes drawing the very first painting he saw — J.S. Copley’s “Portrait of H. R. H. the Prince of Wales at a Review, Attended by Lord Heathfield, General Turner, Col. Bloomfield, and Baron Eben; Col. Quinton in the Distance.” ¬†It’s huge — over 12 feet tall and 10 feet wide — just the thing to stop a little boy in his tracks.


The Newells of Smithfield, Nebraska

Sod house, Smithfield Nebraska, circa 1902
Above:  Sod house belonging to James F. Newell and his wife, Anna Celia Butler Newell.
In photo:  Travelling salesman, Ralph Newell, Leo Newell, Jim Newell, Anna Newell, and Marjorie Newell (my grandmother).
Jim Newell and family lived in Nebraska from 1894-1904 or so. ¬†They returned to Illinois and from the postcards, they weren’t the only ones to give it up.
I transcribed a few postcards recently for a distant cousin.  They paint an interesting picture of life at the time.
(Schuyler, Oct, 1909)
Dear Aunt:  Am now here in Schuyler at Tighes having a fine time auto riding & such.  Will start home Monday.  Am going out to a musical tonight.  Suppose you are all busy now.  I had a fine time with the children while Aunt was gone yet was glad to see her return.  Uncle is the limit & I will have much to tell you on my return.  I have gained much out here & never felt as well before.  Lovingly, Lena
(Schuyler, Oct. 13, 1909)
Dear Sister Anna, ¬†Arrived home safe & sound at 7 o’clock Tuesday eve. ¬†Had a lonely trip as I got sick on the train am better now but the folks say I look awful bad. ¬†John was waiting for me when I got to Schuyler. ¬†Maybe you think he wasn’t glad to get me back again. ¬†Will write you a letter later on. ¬†Sister Ella
(Schulyer, Nebr Jan 6th, 1910)
Dear Sister,
Received your pretty postal & was much pleased over it. ¬†Was very sorry to hear about Jim but hope he may be soon well and strong again. ¬†It is very cold here now — registered 18 below this morning. ¬†Love to all ¬†Sister Ella
(Schuyler, Jan 27, 1910)
Dear Sister, Received your post card and was glad to hear Jim was getting along so well.  We are all well at present.  Weather is fine here for the last week but the roads are awful bad.  Folks finished hauling corn and are hauling hay now.  We have no hay land.  Hay is ??? dol per ton.  Haint finished husking yet have 30 acre to husk.  Got a letter from Lena last week.  How is little Bernard and the rest of the children?  Love to all, Sister Ella
(Schuyler Neb April 12th, 1910)
Dear Sister, Got Leena’s Box yesterday and think the dresses awful pretty. ¬†They fit nice only a little small. ¬†Thank you for what you sent. ¬†It is very dry here now — will finish breaking up this week. ¬†Have a new 150 egg incubator set and 5 hens besides. ¬†Love to all, Sister Ella
(Schuyler, May 1, 1911)
Dear sister, How is Leo by this time? ¬†Hope he will be well and strong again soon. ¬†We are all well at present. ¬†Had a bad freeze up last night and quite a snow with it. ¬†I guess the fruit is gone again. ¬†We are done plowing and ready to start planting as soon as the weather is nice again. ¬†Take good care of Leo. ¬†Don’t let him take cold. ¬†Love to all , Sister Ella
(Schuyler, Neb, July 14th, 1911)
Dear Nephew,  Are you well and strong again?  I hope you are .  We are all well.  It is still dry here.  Had only one good rain since May.  Wheat is a good crop here this year but oats are short and light, late corn looks good, early corn was hurt by the drought.  Love to all, Aunt Ella
(Schuyler, Apr, 1911)
Hello Dear Cousin (Leo),  How are you by now?  hope you are well again as we all are.   How did your mama chicks turn out?   ours was not verry good  have 95 chicks.  Had two little colts but one died other is weak.  How is Lena?  Tell her I said to just put her shoulder to the wheel.  Is the others going to school ?  Write soon & let us know how you get along.  Your cousin Margaret
(no date)
From Grandma, to Leo Newell  I want you to Hurry and get Well again, and come up to see me again  I am feeling very well at present from your grandma,  Mrs. Margaret Butler

Background info: ¬†These cards were sent to Anna Butler Newell in Virginia, IL or her son Leo Newell, who was sick for a long time. ¬†Ellen Butler McCready (aka “Sister Ella”) was Anna’s sister in Schuyler, Nebraska. ¬†Lena was a niece of Anna & Ella’s who cared for Ella’s children while she was home in Illinois on a visit. ¬†Jim Newell had his appendix out in Dec. 1909 and was in the hospital for a month.