On Reddit an encrypted postcard from 1909 was published. Can you decipher it?

Once again, an encrypted postcard is waiting to be solved. This time it was brought to my attention by David Allen Wilson in the Facebook group Codes & Historical Ciphers. Here it is:


This postcard is discussed on Reddit. The picture side of the postcard and the address part are not shown. The stamp indicates a town named “Hanover”. According to Wikipedia, there almost 20 Hanovers in the USA (the name stems from the German city Hannover).

So far no solution of the encrypted message is mentioned in the Reddit comments.

The person who has published the card on Reddit writes: “Found it in my aunt’s parents house. It’s dated 1909. My aunt thinks it was her great aunt’s and maybe auntie was having an affair.” As frequent readers of this blog know, most encrypted postcards were written by young men to their spouses. The signature (which is not encrypted) indicates that the sender’s name was “Bert”.

The encryption method used is probably a letter substitution (also known as monoalphabetic substitution cipher or MASC). As the spaces between the words are visible, it should be possible to break the code by guessing words. For example, there is a word consisting only of the letter C in the sixth line. This word is probably “a” or “I”. As an alternative, a letter frequency analysis might lead to the cleartext.

Can a reader decipher this encrypted postcard?

Further reading: Who can solve this encrypted postcard from Transylvania?

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Kommentare (6)

  1. #1 Thomas
    28. Juni 2017

    What is the matter with
    you now!? I haven’t heard
    from you for over a week. Got
    a crush on that Yaleskate (?) or
    somebody? If so, give me the
    hook. I won’t scrap about it, but
    have a lot to say when I see
    you. If you were insulted by
    anything in the last letter,
    I think I can change your mind
    on that subject. You said yor (sic!)
    were not “peachified”, yor (sic!) know.
    Maybe, some of this is not true;
    if so, I beg your pardon.

  2. #2 Thomas
    28. Juni 2017

    Who can help:
    What does ‘Yaleskate’ mean?
    ‘Got a crush on’ and ‘scrap about’ – english usage of 1909?

  3. #3 Klaus Schmeh
    28. Juni 2017

    @Thomas: Thank you very much!! Great job. I have no idea what “Yaleskate” means.

  4. #4 Gerry
    28. Juni 2017

    According to the urban dictionary “skate” is a slang word from before the First World War: https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=skate
    A skate is a slippery fish, so this name was applied to slippery, untrustworthy persons.
    And there is a Hanover in New Jersey just 100 miles away from Yale University…

  5. #5 Dan Girard
    29. Juni 2017

    To “have a crush” on someone is a colloquial expression meaning to be infatuated with him or her.
    To “scrap” about something means to fight or quarrel about it.

  6. #6 Jerry McCarthy
    England, Europa
    29. Juni 2017

    Interesting! I had always thought that the “interrobang” (the “!?” or “?!”) was a modern invention. But here it is, on a card seemingly written in 1909!!