Wednesday, September 18, 2013

"Keep Mum!" Birthday Party Invitations in the early 1940s

Ann Hart, like many Irvington girls, received invitations to birthday parties.   How many of us have kept up with these childhood friends?  How many of us have lost touch?  Stored in scrapbooks for over 70 years, these three invitations were issued to several girls throughout the neighborhood in 1941-43.  The lucky recipient, Ann Hart, dwelled at 5930 East Washington Street and attended elementary school at IPS #77.

On November 5, 1941, several Irvington girls gathered at the home of Joyce Mitzner at 5864 East Lowell Avenue.  It was a cool day and a Wednesday so the girls gathered after school.  None of them had any idea that their lives were about to change in just a little over a month with the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  Joyce and Ann have remained friends over the years and without fail Ann still sends a birthday card to her dear friend on November 5.  Below you can see the original invitation and what the home looks like in 2013.  A stone facade was added much later so the bungalow was likely originally clad in wood siding in 1941.

In either 1942 or 1943, Ann received an invitation from Mrs. Seabert for a surprise birthday party honoring her daughter Jane.  The kids had to phone Mrs. Seabert to let her know that they were coming.  As part of the covert operation, the children were to meet at the home of Mrs. Panczner, who dwelled in a double at 105 North Pasadena Avenue. It was a summer day so the party was likely held outdoors.  Below you can see the invitation and Mrs. Seabert's lovely handwriting.  You can also see a photo of 105-107 Pasadena Avenue in 2013.

On September 16, 1943, Ann and several other girls gathered at the home of Alice Hunt at 737 North Bolton Avenue.  Mr. Hunt ran a nearby bowling alley.  The children met after school and enjoyed the last days of a beautiful summer.  You may see this invitation and a contemporary image of the home below.

The cards and information are courtesy of Ann Hart Stewart.

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