This unusual postcard also contains a fun mystery. As you can see the image is of the state reform school in Salem. The hand-coloring gives it an unusual quality, but the message on the back is even more intriguing. It's addressed to Gladys Reavis from "Glenn S.", and the message simply says "23 Skidoo" with the 'o's forming eyeglasses of a little face caricature. While this card isn't postmarked, it is part of a set of 3 cards from Glenn S. to Miss Reavis, one with a 1907 postmark. The other two are images of the state hospital and the state penitentiary in Salem, where he warns her she will wind up if she doesn't send him a "postal."
The phrase "23 skidoo" has an interesting history which you can read about here. If the 1907 date is correct it would be an extremely early use of the phrase.
Miss Reavis would have been 14 in 1907. We saw her some years later performing in the play "Robin Hood" in this post.
Is that some sort of a band in the front? Though hard to make out I think I see horns and a drum. Wonder if they let them out to perform in parades. I can see that would be a good way for someone inclinded to head off....
charlott on 15th February 2013 @ 7:08am
Perhaps they had marching exercises every day to reform the youth.
I have heard the expression skedaddle, but not 23 skidoo.
l.e. on 15th February 2013 @ 9:02am
Google "23 skidoo" and you get a fascinating description of womens legs, cops, and NY City architecture. But it was pre WW I slang for "let's get out of here."
nels on 15th February 2013 @ 11:01am
It was a beautiful building.
The school opened in 1891, four miles east of Salem. The main building burned in 1927 and the school was relocated to Woodburn.
l.e. on 15th February 2013 @ 10:46pm