Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.


Morning Star, May 2, 2010, pg. 11

Recently I attended the annual spring postcard show at the fairgrounds in Kalamazoo. Yours truly has purchased numerous cards at this show through the years which have been used in this column and in my books. Old Albion postcards are fascinating, as sometimes they contain the only known photograph of a particular business, house, or person. There are hundreds of picture postcards of Albion which have been produced through the years. Perhaps you have some of them.

This week I’d like to feature a card I purchased at the postcard show a few weeks ago. It is a campaign card of local attorney Joseph A. Baldwin who was running for Calhoun County probate judge in 1948, with the primary election being held on September 14, 1948. I see that a local Albion City Councilman, George Strander is running for that position this year in 2010. Albion candidates have always had a difficult time defeating the Battle Creek voting block candidates through the years, and we wish him the best. Regarding Baldwin’s 1948 run for the judgeship office, Baldwin was unsuccessful in his bid for even the September 14 primary nomination vote to become a probate judge candidate for the November election.

Attorney Baldwin opened his law office in Albion in 1933 during the Great Depression, and in 1934 ran for the Michigan State Senate and won. He was the first Albion resident to be elected to the state senate in 78 years. He served until 1936 when he was defeated, and then ran again in 1938 and won, serving then until 1943 when he left to serve in WWII. For more details, I wrote about Joseph Baldwin in the September 25, 1994 edition of this column, which you may reference on the www.Albionmich.com website.

In an interesting sidelight, an unnamed Baldwin is referred to in the infamous 1936 book “Michigan’s Irish Hills,” by Lita Hindman Luebbers. The novel is a thinly-disguised expose about the internal politics at Albion College during the early 1930s. In it, Baldwin is referred to as “the attorney… he was a senator” on pages 275 and 276 of that work. You may find what the author wrote there about Baldwin is somewhat interesting.

This particular postcard, pictured this week in our Historical Notebook, shows Baldwin as he looked in his final months. He suffered a cerebral hemorrhage on December 27, and died a week later on January 5, 1949 at the too-young age of 53. This card is a “real photo” card, meaning it is actually developed as a photograph, and not as a dotted-half-toned mass produced picture as would be published in a magazine or newspaper. The card is postmarked from Albion, is dated August 31, 1948, and is addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Stuart D. Hill of 309 Burr Oak St. Hill, of course, was another prominent Albion attorney.

Joseph A. Baldwin 1895-1949


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