A Cryptic Message


The above postcard, postmarked six P.M., 10 August 1909, contains a cryptic message from S.S.H. to Miss Julia Fowler of 1310 Myrtle Avenue, Baltimore MD.

Hear’s one for
luck hoping that
you have changed
your mind about
a certain subject
Will see you to-
morrow night.

We may happily assume Julia did change her mind “about a certain subject” because she married Samuel Stewart Hoopper (1884-1972) on 7 June 1910. The wedding took place at the Third Reformed Church in Baltimore with the Reverend Clayton H. Ranck officiating.

In the 1910 Census Julia Leas Fowler (1886-1974) was unemployed and living at 1310 Myrtle Avenue, Baltimore, with her father, Isaac Fowler (1853-1922) , her mother, Julia Amelia Leas (1857-1932), and her sister, Lotta A. Fowler (1882-1938). She graduated from Western High School in 1905 and probably followed in her mother’s footsteps by attending Western Maryland College (McDaniel College).

Stewart, as he was known, was the son of Samuel James Hoopper (1861-1862) and Susan Lee Stewart (1862-1943). Stewart was an accountant by trade and a Mason. He served on the board of the Baltimore Coin Club. He was an amateur photographer and cache of his photographs from the early 20th Century was donated to the Maryland Historical Society in 1978.

Julia and Stewart had one child, Julia Fowler Hoopper (1913-2004). She never married and lived with her parents until they died. A graduate of the Maryland Normal School (Towson University), she was a teacher and librarian in Baltimore City public schools.

Stewart, Julia, and Julia were modest people who lived quiet lives. That doesn’t mean they had no impact. The esteemed newspaperman Jacques Kelly of The Baltimore Sun lived next door to the Hoopper family when he was a boy and occasionally mentioned them in his columns. In 1999 he wrote about Julia Fowler Hoopper’s Easter rituals and you can read that here. In September 2004 he wrote a lovely memorial to Julia Fowler Hoopper and I highly recommend you go here to read it.

Below is the front of Stewart’s postcard. I purchased the postcard at an antique store on The Avenue in Hampden, the coolest neighborhood in Baltimore.


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