Biographical / Historical
The Blenkle Collection of Postcards was collected by Dr. Victor A. Blenkle, who lived in New Jersey. Little was known about Dr. Blenkle until Ms. Lorraine Clemente, his great-niece, supplied biographical information in 2006. All relevant curators involved in this acquisition are now deceased. Through processing, some conclusions were reached based on evidence contained within the collection itself.
Victor A. Blenkle (born December 15, 1900; died April 15, 1978) was one of six children; his siblings were Ferdinand, Herbert, Albert, Helene, and Julius. His parents, Ferdinand and Bertha, probably emigrated to the United States from Germany in the 1890s (his father was born in 1871). Victor Blenkle practiced medicine in Teaneck, N.J., where he was affiliated with Holy Name Hospital; his wife's name was Elsie. Blenkle was active in medical organizations and was a founder of Family Practice of New Jersey. He served in both World Wars, attaining the rank of lieutenant colonel. Many of the postcards in this collection were from Blenkle's patients, as well as family members. (Ms. Lorraine Clemente, great-niece of Victor Blenkle, supplied biographical information in 2006.)
We do not know when Dr. Blenkle began collecting postcards, but cards sent to him or with what appears to be his handwriting begin in the 1920s. It seems as if Blenkle also either purchased or traded for collections that were originally owned by others. For example, within the overall Blenkle collection, there are three smaller groups of cards of earlier origin. Some of these include the earliest materials in the collection, dating from the late 1880s and 1890s. These three smaller groups include a group of cards sent to (and some sent by) a Reverend Leach in Noroton, Connecticut who was a Lutheran minister. He also apparently ran some kind of a Bible study by mail program and so received a number of cards from those interested in the Bible. Another group of cards sent to addresses in Elgin, Illinois and other related Midwestern locations by members of an extended family and some of their friends between about 1895 and 1910. A third set of cards includes smaller group of cards sent by a group of family and friends in Wisconsin, apparently centering on Milwaukee. All of these include messages written on front or back and postmarks.