Monday, September 21, 2009

Where Would Annie Shop?

A few years ago I acquired a collection of vintage New Zealand postcards, some 250 in number. While I had bought them for the views shown, sorting through them it dawned upon me that the vast majority of them were written by a woman named Annie to her younger brother Henry in the United States.

Written between 1901 and 1927, they record some of the life and times of Annie, an American woman, who married a New Zealand ship's engineer in 1901 and settled in New Zealand until his death in 1926. Widowed and without means of support she returned to her hometown of Akron, Ohio where she lived out the rest of her life until she died in 1969.

Tracing Annie's story behind the cards has led me subsequently down many paths, filling in details here and there as to the larger picture of Annie's life & times, something more than the equivalent of a text message or telegraph-length missive contained on small rectangular piece of cardboard could reveal.

One of those paths has involved asking "where would Annie shop?" when she refers in her postcard messages to having gone into Christchurch on the train from Lyttelton where she lived on various errands to shop.

Trying to answer that question has prompted the following series of posts on shopping in Christchurch at the turn of the twentieth century.

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