History is found in the images offered by postcards included in Gay Morgan Moore’s “Canton.”
But, just as fascinating as the photographs are the stories told by the brief notes written on the back of the postcards.
“There is one picture in here of the Aultman home for the Aged, which was where the Civic Center is now,” Moore recalled at a book signing Friday at National First Ladies’ Library. “On the back was a message from a lady who lived there to her grandson, who lived in Salt Lake City. She thanks him for his cards and letters, and she says to him she hopes she gets to see him one more time. It’s so touching.”
BORN OF HOBBY
A former city resident, Moore was inspired to write “Canton,” part of Arcadia Publishing’s Postcard History Series, by the interest in history shown by her aunt, Mary Esther Myers, who worked for Canton Preservation Society and whom Moore continues to visit. “My family moved to Atlanta when I was a child, but I spent many summers here, visiting,” she said.
The book grew from Moore’s interest in collecting postcards. All the images in the book are from her collection. Many of them date back to early in the 20th century, and most are from 1900 to 1920.
“I’ve had a postcard collection for years and when I was here last year, I decided I probably had enough to do a postcard book,” she explained. “So I did a proposal for Arcadia, and they accepted, and then I realized I didn’t have enough postcards — there are 227 of them in this book.”
So, her husband, Sandy Moore, went online and found more postcards that related to the Canton area. “He found a lot of unique cards,” she said. And both her collection and her book grew in scope.
The author, who has written a parenting book (“New Rules to Live By, Parenting One Day at a Time”) and a children’s book (“Barney and the Missing Shoes”) said that she has many favorites, among them postcard images taken from Meyers Lake Amusement Park.
“One of them is on the back of the book (cover),” she noted. “It shows the kids jumping out of the bathhouse.”
But most of the postcards that are special to the author touch her as much with their words as they do with their images. Picture postcards, we are reminded, were for sending written messages on their postal sides.
“There is one on which a young man writes back to a friend in Carlisle, Pa.,” she explains. He moved here from there and he’s saying how wages are good — 25 cents an hour — but board is more expensive, and he’s encouraging his friend to come here because there are a lot of jobs.”
Three cards on pages 50 and 51 show workers at what was then called the Timken Roller Bearing Co., working on war production during World War II.
“Timken was a major supplier of war material in World War II,” said Moore. “All it said on the back of the cards was ‘Working for Victory at Timken.’ I’d love to know who those folks are.”
Moore, who plans to put together a similar postcard book for her current home, Chattanooga., Tenn., said she learned much about the Canton area’s history from researching the book.
“I had a great time. One of the things I came to understand was how important Canton was to business and industry,” she said. “This was an international business center and there was a lot of wealth here. A lot of the companies that are in the book produced for markets all over the world — and it wasn’t just steel.”
ABOUT THE BOOK:
AUTHOR: Gay Morgan Moore
DETAILS: The softcover, 128-page “Canton” is part of the publisher’s Postcard History Series. The book is available through area bookstores, gift shops and online booksellers.