Blennerhassett Lettercard; Ada, Tom and Emily Blennerhassett; 4 January 1904; 19...


Blennerhassett Lettercard

About this object

The Blennerhassetts were a large successful family who lived in Wanganui on what is now Somme Parade; their substantial house still stands. They had a holiday house at Pipiriki and seemed to have stayed there frequently, all together or with various family members and friends going back and forth by riverboat. This lettercard is dated 4 January 1904 and features a panoramic photograph of the town of Wanganui and the Whanganui River by notable photographer F J Denton. It is from three of the children at home in Wanganui, Ada, Tom and Em. Em was Emily, an educational innovator who brought Montessori teaching methods to Wanganui in the early 1920s. Tom became a lawyer and practiced in Wanganui, and Ada, the only Blennerhassett girl to marry, was one of the young ‘uns of a family of 10 children. Postcards and lettercards were a convenient means of communication in the early 20th century. The inexpensive penny post and two postal deliveries per day, except Sundays, ensured swift communication between town and country. And what is this lettercard about? It contains domestic information, perhaps with a bit of humour thrown in. Had Ada Tom and Em come back from Pipiriki and were just keeping the family up-to-date with news? And what on earth are the “3 packets of P.O.P” being sent up by Waimarie, the riverboat still plying the Whanganui River today? Families have their own communication codes and in-jokes and language that may be meaningless to others not familiar with their ways, but every Blennerhassett would have known exactly what Ada, Tom and Em meant.


Ada, Tom and Emily Blennerhassett

Maker Role


Date Made

4 January 1904

Place Made

New Zealand

Place Notes

Wanganui, New Zealand

Medium and Materials

Card / photographic print / ink


42.5 x 9 cm

Subject and Association Description

Blennerhassett family news

Object number


Copyright Licence  

All rights reserved

Valerie Blennerhassett nee Toms 14 Oct 2009 05:10 AM,UTC

Ada did not marry. Alice was the only BH sister to marry (Proudfoot, Wellington).

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