29 January, 2010

Item 31: Deakin Bro's Trade Card with Missive

Item 31: Deakin Bro's Trade Card.  1882.

Numerous items contained within the Hawkins Strongbox bear association with Timothy Deakin and the Deakin Bro's Photography Studio.  The brothers Deakin were Robert, born in 1851; Timothy, born 1855; and the youngest John (though most often referred to as Jack), who arrived in 1860.  Parents Landry and Edyln Deakin also had two daughters, Glynnis born in 1853 and Kendra in 1857.  Tragically, both girls drowned in a boating accident during the summer of 1867.

Item 31, a trade card for the Deakin Bro's Studio, would be otherwise quite mundane if not for the enigmatic message penned across its reverse side.  The card is somewhat unusual in that it only featured printing on one side, but this did afford Timothy Deakin the space to write what appears to be a hastily composed note to Geoffrey Hawkins.

The text of the message:


I beg your forgiveness for the format and nature of this rushed missive. Word of Jack has been delivered to me this very afternoon and I fear that if I do not act swiftly I will forgo this opportunity that fate has so generously granted.

I have little doubt that this trail will take me to Cyncad, and thus should I fall into peril I wanted to leave you with some record of my impending course of action. 

I have until now spared Robert and Mother the details of this unfortunate affair.  They know only that Jack has been on extended holiday.  I trust that you will provide an explanation to them, both suitable and comforting should I not return.

                                                                                           17 Sept. 1882

Archer Bowens, Documents Archivist for the Victorian Mechanical Museum provided these comments on Item 31:

"The Deakin Bro's trade card is part of a group of items we have classified as Lot 7 -September 1882.  It includes the trade card, a newspaper clipping, a number of sketches, and a lengthy narration written by Timothy Deakin.  These items all relate to events surrounding the disappearance of Timothy's younger brother Jack during the late summer of 1882.  I am currently transcribing the pages written by Timothy and hope to have that text available for exhibition sometime in the near future."

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