Author Archives: kihm

An Amiable Uncle

When I began to read, one of the first books my mother gave me was Penrod by Booth Tarkington. I loved the book, in part because Penrod’s boyhood was preferable to my own, but also because Tarkington was fun, funny, and his prose flowed like a brook in the woods. I still return to him […]

Making a Postcard, 1888

In November of 1888, Scientific American published an article on “The Making of Postal Cards” which follows, but I thought it needed a brief introduction on how postcards themselves came about. In 1870, citing the success of postal cards in Europe, U.S. Postmaster General John A. J. Creswell recommended to Congress the issuance of a […]

Not the Empress

In 1889, Colorado lumberman James W. Clise moved to Seattle. He arrived on June 7th, one day after the Great Fire destroyed Seattle’s business district. Other men might have viewed the smoldering vista as inauspicious, but Clise began buying real estate – probably at fire sale prices – and was soon a successful developer. Lyman […]

Grandpa Braun

May 10, 2003 After I posted a piece about my mother’s childhood, a number of people noted what a hard man my grandfather was. True, but all my memories of him are good ones. Growing up, I knew he was a force of nature and not to be crossed, but mostly I remember him smiling […]

The Bug

Time has passed, and I think I can talk about the bug now. It was Holy Week, 2010, at St. James’ Episcopal Church in Skaneateles, N.Y. I sang in the choir. The choir sat in the front of the church, a few steps above the congregation and a step below the altar. Which is to […]

Huxinting Tea House, Shanghai

Originally posted on Read, Seen, Heard:
In the Old City of Shanghai, just outside the Yu Yuan Garden, sits the Huxinting tea house, said to have been built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) as a private retreat, and restored in 1855, when it became a public tea house. The tea house is reached via the…

Pneumatic Mail

Originally posted on Post Office Postcards:
It’s not a postcard, but it is a favorite image, showing the pneumatic mail department in the basement of an American post office. The practice of loading mail into canisters and shooting them through tubes with compressed air dates back to the nineteenth century. A pneumatic line linked the…

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