Travel Tuesday: Postcards from Mexico, Part 4: Tracing Phil and Benita’s Footsteps through Mexico

Benita (McGinnis) McCormick (1889 – 1984)
Phillip C. McCormick (1892 – 1981)

Three basket weavers smile obligingly at the photographer in “Tipos Mexicanos,” or “Mexican People.”  Photographer and location unknown, circa mid-1930s.  From Benita (McGinnis) McCormick’s scrapbook.
The black and white photographic postcards my great uncle and great aunt, Phil and Benita (“Aunt Detty”) McCormick purchased during their 1937 vacation to Mexico are so many and so artistic that they seemed worthy of their own series here. 
In the absence of a written itinerary of Phil and Benita’s travels throughout that country, these postcards have provided us fascinating clues to where they went and the places that were special to them.


Map shows Aunt Detty and Uncle Phil’s travels, as
indicated by the postcards they bought.
“Man and burro.”
La Plazuela del Progreso, Taxco, Guerrero, Mexico, 1930s.
From Benita (McGinnis) McCormick’s scrapbook.

And what about the back of the postcards, you might wonder.  Do they contain any writing?  Were they ever sent to anyone, or were they simply kept as artistic souvenirs? Oh, the stories they might yield, if only…

Ah, yes, if only.  Well, dear reader, for now they will remain unanswered questions – due in part to my own action, or lack thereof.

“Charro and China Poblana” depicts
couple in the typical dress of Puebla.
Location unknown; Mexico, 1930s.
From Benita (McGinnis) McCormick’s

You see, some years ago, Uncle Phil and Aunt Detty’s daughter, Jane (McCormick) Olson (my first cousin once removed), loaned me the scrapbook of her mother’s memories. Aunt Detty had obtained the book, originally a large salesman’s sample album of Christmas cards, from my parents, who sold advertising specialties at the time.  She repurposed the book into a scrapbook in 1982, removing the samples and gluing her photographs, postcards, and memorabilia onto the pages.

Over time, the glue began to disintegrate, loosening some of the items (thankfully for archival purposes) from the pages. One of the postcards was among the loose items, and I was able to pull it back slightly to examine it further.

It turned out to be a postcard Aunt Detty had sent to her two children, Phillip “Buddy” and Jane, both of them 10 years old at the time. On it, she wrote briefly and tenderly that Mother and Dad were having a great time but were looking forward to seeing their darlings soon.

There may have been more correspondence on the back of the postcards. However, out of a combination of respect for Jane’s property and a fear of damaging the items in the scrapbook, I resisted the urge to peel back or remove anything else. Instead, I took photographs of the contents, which we see here. Thank goodness for cameras!


Woman selling clay pots.  “Tipos Mexicanos,” or “Mexican People,”
location and photographer unknown, Mexico, 1930s.  From Benita
(McGinnis) McCormick’s scrapbook.

The scenes in these miscellaneous postcards could have taken place anywhere in Mexico.  The general descriptions on some of them refer to the subjects as “Tipos Mexicanos,” or “Mexican People,” but on the face of the photographs there is no other information as to their location.  The exception is the postcard below, captioned “Jefatura de Operaciones, S.L.P.,” or the  the operations center of the state capital city of San Luis Potosí.  The north-central city’s famed colonial architecture may have been the reason Aunt Detty and Uncle Phil visited there.

Operations Center, City of San Luis Potosí, Mexico,
1930s.  From Benita (McGinnis) McCormick’s scrapbook.

To read the other installments in this series, please click on the links below:

Part One: Postcards from Mexico

Part Two:  Taxco

Copyright ©  2014  Linda Huesca Tully

5 Thoughts to “Travel Tuesday: Postcards from Mexico, Part 4: Tracing Phil and Benita’s Footsteps through Mexico

  1. I wonder how many of today's collectors are self-aware enough to realize they may be compiling tomorrow's archive collection. These are wonderful treasures, Linda.

    1. Thank you, Vitus. You must be familiar with that area.
      I will update the photo to show the location and appreciate your pointing it out. Would it be recognizable today, or has it changed significantly?

        1. That’s wonderful, Vitus! I’ve been to Taxco, but it was many years ago. It’s good to know that the city has retained its charm. Saludos!

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