Postcard Story: Sympathy in Polo, Illinois – 1916

Sympathy Card 1916

Sympathy Card
Polo, Illinois

Unlike the last postcard, the Easter greeting that didn’t excite me all that much, this card melted me. Such a sincere and compassionate outpouring of grief seems in stark contrast to modern day sugary Hallmark offerings.

Anyone who experiences grief knows that there are no words that will bring comfort yet the final stanza of this card comes awfully close to conveying understanding of another’s loss. The asking of permission to even say anything, the acknowledgement of the uselessness of words, and a final uplifting look towards the future. This struck a harmonious chord with me.

Sympathy Card - Polo, IL - 1916

Sympathy Card – Polo, IL – 1916

The reverse reads,

“Polo June 13, 1916
Mrs. Cook and Family. Please accept our sympathy at this sad time in your life.
Mrs. C. C. Price and family.”

Addressed to “Mrs. T. E. Cook
Polo, Ill”

As with the previous postcard this one is also a same-day rural delivery card, where a card picked up on a route was delivered to another postal customer on the same route. We can tell this by the hand-cancelled stamp done in indelible purple pencil using the postal carrier’s initial.

The card was written by Alice Price (neé Stuff) to Madge Cook (neé Guinnip) on the occasion of the death of Mrs. Cook’s seven year old daughter, Fern Hellen Cook, just two days prior. Fern was the first child of Madge and Thomas Elliot Cook’s three children. The Price and Cook families were long time farmers in Polo, a small rural community in Ogle County, Illinois, southwest of Rockford.


Amateur photographer, cyclist, and beer brewer in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA.

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