Edwin Forrest Branning: Catskills Postcard Publisher

December 10, 2022  •  Leave a Comment



Edwin Forrest Branning was a well-known merchant and citizen of the hamlet of Narrowsburg in Sullivan County, New York. He later moved to New York City. He was highly regarded as a businessman, eventually attaining great wealth through his general store, creamery, cigar manufacturing, wholesale, catalog, automobile, lumber and real estate dealings. As perhaps his most lasting legacy, Branning published a wide range of scenic postcards from throughout the southern Catskills of Sullivan County.


1602_Lake Ophelia, Liberty, N.Y.1602_Lake Ophelia, Liberty, N.Y.


936_Loch Sheldrake, N.Y.936_Loch Sheldrake, N.Y.




Edwin Forrest Branning was born on September 11, 1861 at Branningville, Wayne County, Pennsylvania, which is located on the opposite side of the Delaware River from the hamlet of Narrowsburg, New York. Edwin was the son of John Dexter Branning (1822-1876), a prominent lumberman “whose father furnished the sail mast for the gunboat Old Ironsides.”[1]


“His grandfather made the family famous by furnishing the tree from which the mast of the Old Ironsides was made. A tree was found at “Last Hope,” or Peggy Runway, as it was called in those days. It was cut and floated down the river to its destination on a raft and was pronounced the finest specimen of the forest. As a result of that history making occurrence, the place was rechristened Mast Hope, and Grandfather Branning became known the country over as the mast man of Old Ironsides.”[2]


The USS Constitution, affectionately known as Old Ironsides, was one of the first frigates built for the US Navy. The USS Constitution was launched in 1797, making it the world’s oldest commissioned warship still afloat. Never defeated in battle, she faithfully defended the United States through many decades of service, including against French privateers and during the Barbary Wars and the War of 1812. The ship earned its name during the War of 1812 when during a battle with British frigate Guerriere, enemy cannonballs were seen bouncing off the ship’s wooden hull. In response to seeing this, an American sailor reportedly exclaimed "Huzzah! her sides are made of iron!" Through its history the USS Constitution destroyed or captured 33 enemy ships. Today the USS Constitution is berthed at Boston, Massachusetts and is open to the public for tours.


The hamlet of Branningville, Pennsylvania took its name from Edwin’s father.[3] In the 1880 history of Wayne County, Branningville was described as having a “good school, with a thickly settled neighborhood about it. It is a very pleasant place.”[4] John D. Branning built a mill there in 1860. John, with William Holbert, also constructed what is now known as the Joel Hill Saw Mill. Located at Duck Harbor, the mill was constructed in 1873 during the height of the lumber industry in Wayne County. It is the only water-powered mill remaining in northeastern Pennsylvania. The saw mill is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The hamlet of Branningville was later renamed Atco, for a town in New Jersey. Edwin’s parents moved to Narrowsburg in 1874 when Edwin was approximately 13 years old.


Edwin’s new home, the hamlet of Narrowsburg, is beautifully situated on the Delaware River in Sullivan County, New York. The hamlet was originally known as Homans’ Eddy, named for Benjamin Homans, an early settler. After he died, the place was called Big Eddy, “as it was located at the section of the Delaware River believed to be the widest spot upstream from the tidewater. The area was renamed Narrowsburg in 1810, again for its river location, that spot above the Big Eddy which was the narrowest and deepest section above the tidewater.”[5]


During Edwin’s youth in the 19th century Narrowsburg was a thriving village, with a large lumber industry and a prosperous main street with many stores and hotels.


“During the early history of the settlement, the river was the focus of economic activity. Grain was transported to grist mills and lumber was transported to market via the river. For nearly a century, lumber rafting was a major enterprise on the Upper Delaware, and Narrowsburg became a popular resting place for raftsmen. The demand for overnight accommodations encouraged the development of the hotel trade in Narrowsburg, an industry that contributed to the general prosperity of the village until the early twentieth century. The construction of the Mount Hope and Lumberland Turnpike during the second quarter of the nineteenth century also contributed to the success of the village’s hotel and boardinghouse industry. The turnpike ended at the river in Narrowsburg and was connected by bridge to a road to Honesdale, Pennsylvania, bringing additional travelers through the village.


The event which most greatly benefited Narrowsburg was the completion of the New York & Erie Railroad. The railroad was America’s first long line railroad, providing the first major link between the northwest railroad routes and the western frontier. Narrowsburg, located at the heart of the line’s Delaware Division, experienced a period of unprecedented commercial expansion and population growth. The village soon had three hotels, five stores, three blacksmith shops, a shoe shop, a funeral home, a harness shop and hop house and a half-mile trotting course. The business of the village, particularly the hotels and boardinghouses, were patronized by commercial travelers and holiday visitors from the city and continued to thrive into the early twentieth century.”[6]


Edwin Forrest Branning was one of nine children of John Dexter Branning and Christina (Staats) Branning (1827-1883). His siblings included John Wellington Branning (1847-1901); Matilda C. Branning (1849-1934); Martha D. Branning (1851-1927); Cecilia Branning (1853-1922); Winton W. Branning (1855-1861); Clarence E. Branning (1858-1901); Caroline Branning (1858-1940); and Franklyn Devine Branning (1865-1923).


Portrait, Edwin Forrest BranningPortrait, Edwin Forrest BranningPortrait of Edwin Forrest Branning, noted publisher of photographic postcards of Sullivan County, New York.


On February 20, 1884 Branning married Mary Etta Rockwell (1861-1950) at the residence of her father. The ceremony was officiated by Reverend C. W. Spencer. Together Edwin and Mary Etta would have eight children, including three sons and five daughters. Two of the children predeceased him. They were Anita, the youngest daughter, who died in October, 1918, and Edwin Forrest, the eldest son, who died in April 1928. Edwin and Mary’s children included:


  • Edwin Forrest Branning, Jr. (1884-1928). Edwin, Jr. worked with his father in the wholesale notions business and for many years traveled Sullivan County and the surrounding counties as the firm’s representative. He passed away in 1928 from an operation for the removal of an internal goiter. He is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery.


  • Harry Rockwell Branning (1885-1971). Harry worked as president of the Branning Realty Corporation.[7] The 1910 US census listed Harry’s occupation as “bookkeeper, mercantile office”; the 1930 US census listed his occupation as “salesman, real estate”; and the 1940 US census listed his occupation as “manager, real estate.”


  • Carrie Marie Branning (b. March 1888). Carrie married William J. O’Connor (1884-1947) in 1910. The 1910 US census listed William’s occupation as “special mechanic clothing”; the 1920 US census listed his occupation as “mechanic.”; the 1930 US census listed his occupation as “machinist, US govt.”; and the 1940 US census listed his occupation as “plumber.”


  • Bernice A. Branning (b. October 1889). Bernice married George H. Seybold (1884-1955), a lieutenant of the constabulary service of the Philippine Islands.


  • Cora Abigail Branning (1891-1949). Cora married Charles Clinton Harding (1890-1982) in 1917. The 1930 US census listed Charles’ occupation as “buyer, hardware store”; and the 1940 US census similarly listed his profession as “purchasing agent, retail and wholesale, hardware store.” Cora is buried at Ashland Cemetery in Boyd County, Kentucky.


  • Winton Wellington Branning, Sr. (1893-1958). Winton began his career working at his father’s garage, later becoming president of the company, the W. and H. B. Garage in the Bronx. He was also engaged in the real estate business, serving as the vice president of the Branning Realty Corporation until his retirement in 1956.[8] In 1914 he married Elsie Hyden in the Bronx.


  • Lucille Rockwell Branning (1895-1953). Lucille married Cornelius W. Daniel, Sr. (1894-1975), a builder and contractor. She was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Belmar, the Daughters of the American Revolution and was an honorary member of the Apollo Club of Asbury Park.


  • Anita Delphine Branning (1901-1918). Anita died of the Spanish influenza.


Gone West


In his early manhood, around 1879, Branning went west to seek out his fortune. He first went to Kansas, intending to become a farmer and to purchase cattle to enter the stock business. The 1880 United States census showed Branning, age 19, residing in Ottawa County, Kansas, with an occupation of farmer.


This line of work did not last long, and by 1880 he had sold his interests in cattle to his brother and headed further west. Branning then moved to Colorado where he operated several mines with his brother Clarence and was “making money rapidly.” However, when Edwin found out that his mother was in very poor health, he left Colorado and returned to his home in Narrowsburg, New York.




After returning home Branning began work in 1882 as a clerk in the general store of George W. Rockwell, Sr., his future father-in-law. Working with him as clerks at the store were George W. Rockwell, Jr. and Edward A. H. Rockwell, both of whom became successful hotel businessmen, operating the Hotel Rockwell at Monticello until the 1909 fire that destroyed their property.


After less than two years Edwin bought the store in February 1883, taking full possession on May 1, 1883. Edwin greatly improved upon the operation, as noted in the local newspapers.


1886: “E. F. Branning has painted up his store and out-buildings a quiet quaker color, and looks very neat.”[9]


~1887: “A vast deal of repairing and repainting is going on, and among the latter the store of E. F. Branning, has been made to look in fine shape, and, if not the finest painted building in town, it is among them if we be the judge.”[10]


1888: “The enterprising merchant and obliging postmaster at Narrowsburg, Mr. E. F. Branning, still continues spreading his domain. He has connected the first and second floor of his store with a handsome staircase. On the second floor he has put in a large stock of clothing.”[11]


1891: “Mr. E. F. Branning is having his store enlarged in such a manner as will present a fine appearance when completed.”[12]


1891: “The extensive improvements now being made upon the store building of Mr. E. F. Branning will make it both attractive and commodious. When completed it will be the largest store in the village.”[13]


1891: “Ed. Branning has completed his new store at Narrowsburgh, which is quite an addition to the looks of the place.”[14]


The character and humorous side of Edwin Branning in running his store at Narrowsburg was noted in the newspaper.


“Ed Branning was resourceful and humorous. He enjoyed a joke whether it was on himself or the other fellow. An order came to his wholesale establishment for a dozen belts for men. The clerk reported to Ed that the stock of belts was exhausted. What shall we do, asked the clerk. Why, send them a dozen sets of suspenders, said Ed: they will hold up the pants just as well as the belts.


At the Narrowsburg store a woman came in for a half dozen lemons. I have no lemons, madam, said Branning, but I have some very fine sour oranges which I can recommend to you as excellent substitutes.”[15]


In 1893 a local newspaper provided this amusing anecdote about Branning and the lucky gift that he had received from his father.


“The Callicoon Echo tells the following story of Mr. Ed. Branning one of the most successfully merchants of Narrowsburg and the upper Delaware Valley: Our enterprising merchant, Ed. Branning, told the writer a few days ago that in 1880 he was reduced to a three-cent piece (with a hole in) given him years before by his father. Today his snug bank account, his fine brick block, and his elegant and enormous stock of goods are grand testimonials of what pluck, energy, perseverance and honesty, as exemplified in our “dealer in everything,” can accomplish. Mr. Branning still has and treasures that three-cent piece.”[16]


In 1894 the local newspaper noted Branning’s interest in collecting coins, indirectly demonstrating his relative prosperity by his ability to purchase such an expensive collection of coins.


“A short time ago E. F. Branning of Narrowsburg purchased of B. G. Wales of Kenoza Lake the second best collection of American and foreign coins in Sullivan County. It is valued at $2,000 and contains in silver one or more dollars, halves and smaller coin from nearly each and every year of coinage in this country, copper and other one cent pieces. The collection also contains some gold coins. – Honesdale Independent.”[17]


Edwin operated the store at Narrowsburg until 1895, when he would sell out to ex-Sherriff Frank Kinne and Louis C. W. Schneider. The new owners took possession of the store on June 1, 1895.


Branning diversified his Narrowsburg business operations by operating, under the name of Branning Brothers, a cigar manufacturing operation. At its peak the operation employed eight men. It was one of four cigar manufacturing businesses operating in Narrowsburg in the 1880s. These operations produced approximately 4,000 to 5,000 cigars on a daily basis. In 1886 Branning’s cigar business faced difficulty after he cut the workmen’s pay by $1 per thousand cigars, resulting with the workforce striking immediately. By 1888 Branning had shut down his cigar business.


Branning would also successfully enter the creamery business, acquiring the creamery at Narrowsburg in May 1889. “Our enterprising merchant and creamery man, E. F. Branning, is no less at home in his new business of dealing in the lacteal fluid and its concomitants than in general merchandise. He has been in possession of the creamery but two months but has built up a large business in that time. Tact and push have made his name and success synonymous in every venture. Butter making is his specialty, large quantities of which are used in Port Jervis and Erie stations east.”[18]


While residing at Narrowsburg Branning would serve the community in a number of different functions, including as school trustee, postmaster and as supervisor of the town of Tusten. Branning served as postmaster from April 14, 1886 to April 20, 1889, being succeeded by Edward O. Green.


In 1889 Branning was elected as trustee for the local school district, replacing Mr. Fred Botens, who had served as trustee for three consecutive years. Branning won the position in a landslide, receiving 48 of the 50 legal votes cast in the election.


In 1894 Branning (democrat) won the Tusten town supervisor position over Edward O. Green (republican) by 135 votes to 94 votes, a margin of 41 votes. He served two terms as Tusten supervisor.


Branning was a member of the Masons, originally being a member of the Monticello F. & A. M. He transferred his membership to New York City in later years.


In 1895 Branning was unanimously elected as the Democratic nominee for the New York State Assembly. The Sullivan County Record of Jeffersonville, New York heartily endorsed Branning for election.


“Edwin F. Branning. The Record is able this week to give its readers a good likeness of the plain, honest, alert and intelligent features of the Democratic nominee for Member of Assembly. Whatever may be said in favor of his popular opponent, we do not believe that a more upright, conscientious and intelligent man could be brought forward to represent Sullivan County in the state legislature than Edwin F. Branning of Tusten.


Mr. Branning is a man the first acquaintance of whom one cannot fail to become impressed with his frankness and unconcealed manner, his friendly and unhaughty ways, the shrewd business abilities he displays and his wisdom about things in general. He has not a word to say against his political enemies, but conducts his canvas in a clean, honorable way, and upon the theory that “may the best man win.”


The possessor of such instincts and characteristics as these is certainly worthy of being trusted with the interests of any community. Indeed, in his speech of acceptance, Mr. Branning says: “The interests of Sullivan County are my interests, and I promise, if elected, to serve the people of Sullivan County.”


And we believe him.”[19]


The Sullivan County Record again wrote of Branning’s character on October 18, 1895.


“E. F. Branning of Narrowsburg, the Democratic nominee for Member of Assembly, was in town Monday. Mr. Branning is one of the most pleasant, plain-spoken, every day fellows that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting, and he cannot but make friends wherever he goes. He says he is no politician and doesn’t know the first thing about politics. He is making a hustling canvas just the same, and if there is a man in Sullivan County who is capable of carrying the Democratic banner to victory this fall, that man would seem to be Ed Branning.”[20]


As the election approached the Sullivan County Record wrote of the dirty tricks that were being used in the campaign and the efforts to impinge upon Edwin Branning’s character.


“The Brannings Are Coming. Edwin F. Branning of Narrowsburg is making the most active canvas for member of assembly Sullivan County has had in a long time. Even his political enemies say he would make the best member the county has had in years. – Honesdale Independent.


No, Brother Independent; his political enemies may have conscience enough to think that, but they will not say it. On the contrary, some of them are resorting to the vilest means in their futile efforts to stay his steady march to victory. But Mr. Branning’s spotless character and noble spirit will withstand it all, and the good people of Sullivan County will condemn the libels that are being transmitted through the mails and from mouth to mouth, by electing him to the assembly with a substantial plurality.”[21]


The Republican Watchman also wrote of an “atrocious scheme” that was being put forth by Branning’s opponent in the election.


“Mr. Messiter Discloses His Cloven Foot and Shows a Willingness to Do Anything to Elect Himself to a Third Term.


Mr. Messiter has issued a card which he is circulating in a stealthy and surreptitious manner around the county among those whom he thinks are gullible enough to be deceived by it. He is endeavoring to inject the Monticello monument fight into the canvass to the disgust of many who have been engaged in the controversy on both sides.


This work of Messiter’s we happen to know is disavowed by many of the leading and clear headed men of his own party . . .


In sending out the card Mr. Messiter shows some of the meanest characteristics that can possibly belong to a depraved and dishonest politician. His mendacity is equaled only be his heartless disregard of the interests of his comrades who are running on the same ticket with him, and whom he is in honor bound not to injure in making his own canvass . . .


The unscrupulous methods resorted to by Messiter in conducting his campaign justify the criticism made by many of his former friends that he has deteriorated into a selfish politician, which has been further shown by the questionable manner in which he “sidetracked” poor Krenrich in his desperate attempt to obtain a third term in the State Legislature.”[22]


Despite his best efforts Branning lost the close election to Uriah S. Messiter of the village of Liberty. There were 6,826 votes cast, with Messiter receiving 3,588 votes, and Branning receiving 2,985 votes.


New York City and Other Business Ventures


In 1895, even prior to the state election, it seems Branning was contemplating a move away from Narrowsburg. He considered a variety of locations, including the city of Scranton, Pennsylvania, writing to city officials there seeking additional information.


“Dealer in Everything. He is Desirous to Locate in This City. Yesterday a letter was received at the board of trade rooms from “E. F. Branning, dealer in everything, Narrowsburg, N. Y.,” stating “I have heard a great deal about your city nowadays and as I am looking for a place to move to, kindly send me such printed matter you may have bearing on your city.” Secretary Atherton remarked that a “dealer in everything” would have a valuable acquisition to the business community, and forwarded the desired information to Mr. Branning.”[23]


Edwin eventually settled on New York City and in February 1896 he moved there, where he began operations in the wholesale jobbing trade and the catalog wholesale business, advertising himself as a “dealer in everything.” The business started slowly: “His ambition was to conduct a catalogue wholesaling business. His ideas were all right, but the business did not go with a rush and he found it necessary to go out as a traveling salesman for the firm that he established. His itinerary covered the States of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania within a radius of two hundred miles or more and he made a splendid success as a man of the road.”[24]


In addition to his retail business, Branning would become very interested in real estate in the Bronx section of New York City. At the time of his death, he owned two apartment houses, a 60-car garage and a sub-station of the United States post office. His ownership of an automobile garage led to the following amusing anecdote.


“A good story is related of Mr. Branning. After he had attained to his position of money, which made no difference in his mode of living or his attitude to his friends, he was wont to go down to his big garage, in the Bronx, which was then being conducted by his son and a partner, don his overalls and enjoy himself around the place. His lawyer kept his cars there. One day his lawyer’s wife came in to take out the car. She was not an expert at manipulating a car and neither did she know Mr. Branning. When she was having some difficulty with the car Mr. Branning went to her assistance and gave her some pointers and helped her out of the garage. When she reached home that night, she told her husband that the garage had just employed one of the nicest and most polite old gentlemen she had ever seen and as he had been so nice to her, she wanted her husband to see that he got a tip. Good Lord, wifey, said the lawyer, that was Mr. Branning, who owns the garage.”[25]


Expanding his business enterprise Branning also extensively engaged in the lumber business. Likely partnering in some form with several of his brothers, he joined in operating several mills in the south. As a result of his endeavors, he “is now rated among the millionaire class.”[26]


As for Edwin’s association with the lumber industry, John Wellington Branning (1847-1901), better known as J. W., and Clarence Branning (1858-1901), Edwin’s brothers, established the Branning Manufacturing Company at Edenton, North Carolina in 1888. The company was established with the purpose of “buying and selling timber lands, standing timber and lumber and wood of all kinds, and cutting, sawing and manufacturing the said timber and wood into lumber of all kinds, dressed and undressed, and manufacturing shingles, staves, lathes, and other articles, selling such manufactured material, and such other business and operations as may be necessary and incidental to the accomplishment of the above mentioned objects.”


Portrait, John Wellington BranningPortrait, John Wellington Branning


The Branning Manufacturing Company would grow to become the largest timber operation in North Carolina, and possibly in all of the south. At its peak the Branning mills employed approximately 600-700 people. Upon the passing of John Wellington Branning in 1901, one newspaper referred to him as the “King of Lumbermen.”[27]


In support of their lumber operations, the Branning family also operated the Wellington and Powellsville Railroad, which ran approximately 22 miles, originally from Windsor, North Carolina to Powellsville, North Carolina, and later to Ahoskie, North Carolina. In an amusing anecdote, “there was a hill on the train’s route it often had trouble climbing. Passengers sometimes had to literally jump out and help push the cars to the top. That led people to jokingly refer to the W&P as the “Walk and Push.”” The railroad was acquired by the Carolina Southern Railway in 1926, and operated until 1961 when the line was abandoned.


The 1900 United States census listed Edwin Branning’s profession as “notions merchant.” In 1910 his profession was listed as “merchant souvenirs”; in 1920 as “none”; and in 1930 as “real estate proprietor.”


Postcard and Photography Business


While operating in New York City, Branning developed the idea of the souvenir picture postcard, an idea from which he became very wealthy. He is sometimes credited as being the first to “invent” the commercial picture postcard.


               “Made First Souvenir Card in U. S. A.


Mr. Branning has been in the mercantile business for many years. His company was the first to manufacture souvenir post cards in the United States.


“One of my friends showed me a card he had received from Germany. At once I saw the possibilities the bit of cardboard furnished and soon began turning them out. During the second year of our new business, we printed and sold 11,000,000 post cards, which increased in volume each year for 15 years.””[28]


1553_Mountain Rest House, Lake Huntington, N.Y.1553_Mountain Rest House, Lake Huntington, N.Y.

1575_Ye Olde Days, Livingston Manor, N.Y.1575_Ye Olde Days, Livingston Manor, N.Y.


The Republican Watchman newspaper of Monticello, New York wrote of Branning’s thriving post card business and the unfortunate history of his extensive archives.


“Eventually he saw the possibility of the post card business and engaged in the manufacture and sale of that product and soon every store and shop had Branning’s cards on their counters and the output became tremendous. At first the cards were printed from halftone cuts of fine quality. In 1909 he discarded the cuts and used the gelatin process. The halftones of Sullivan County discarded by Mr. Branning were bought by the Watchman owner. They filled two large boxes and were a fine collection, but were destroyed when the Watchman office was burned in 1909. He was one of the pioneers in the post card business.”[29]


During the 1905 season Branning reported “brisk business in the card line,” selling over 90,000 souvenir cards to dealers throughout Sullivan County. The Tri-States Union newspaper reported that one Port Jervis store sold over 48,000 cards in only eight months. It was also noted that “among the summer guests this season there seems to be an increasing demand for these clever souvenirs.”[30]


In 1903 Branning published a book of illustrations titled “Picturesque Sullivan County.” The book contained nearly 100 half-tone views of villages, lakes, landscapes and scenery from throughout Sullivan County. The book was well received.


“To all lovers of the beautiful, the author has respectfully dedicated this book which will be appreciated and enjoyed by summer tourists and friends of Mr. Branning.


The book is not hampered with glaring advertisements of any kind, but is strictly gotten up to please and to interest all who love to become familiar with the magnificent and healthful summer resorts, where so many from the metropolis have visited each season for many years.


Mr. Edwin Forrest Branning is well and favorably known throughout Sullivan and adjoining counties. For a number of years, he was a prosperous merchant at Narrowsburg. His place of business at the present time is 448 Broome St., New York City. It is a pleasure also to note that Mr. Branning is a stanch friend and admirer of the UNION and always finds time even in pursuit of his arduous duties to stop and peruse its pages.”[31]


The Republican Watchman newspaper of Monticello, New York also published a brief review of Branning’s “Picturesque Sullivan County.”


“One of the finest booklets coming into our hands this season is “Picturesque Sullivan County, N. Y.,” issued by Edward Forest Branning, of New York City, formerly of Narrowsburg, and at one time a candidate for Member of Assembly. The book is 6x9 inches and contains one hundred views. Among them are some of the most picturesque and historical scenes in Sullivan County. It is a work of art and must have cost Mr. Branning a pretty penny; the cuts alone are probably worth $300. The only improvement that we could suggest in the composition of Mr. Branning’s art gallery would be the author’s picture.”[32]


In 1907 the following advertisement for the production of postcards, using one’s own photographs, appeared in an industry publication.


“CHEAP SOUVENIR POST CARDS we do not make. But from your Photo we do make the very best black and white and 7 color work at a very Cheap price, prices and samples to dealers. Edwin Forrest Branning, Cedar Ave. & 177 st., N. Y. City.”[33]


Advertisement from E. F. BranningAdvertisement from E. F. BranningAdvertisement for Edwin Forrest Branning, noted publisher of photographic postcards of Sullivan County, New York.


Historic postcards published by Branning can readily be found for sale on various internet websites. As noted above, the majority of his postcards focused on the sites of Sullivan County, New York. However, postcards with sites from other nearby locations, such as Pennsylvania, Port Jervis, New York and Goshen, New York, can also be found. Average prices for an E. F. Branning postcard tend to be in $6 to $10 range.


1599_The Beaverkill at Rockland, N.Y.1599_The Beaverkill at Rockland, N.Y.

1606_Episcopal Church, Liberty, N.Y.1606_Episcopal Church, Liberty, N.Y.


Transcontinental Trip


In 1920 Branning and his wife completed a four-month, 7,500-mile trip from New York City to Long Beach, California. The trip was reported in a number of newspapers. The Brannings left their home on June 22 and reached Long Beach on October 14. The cross-country trip included stops in 18 states and three national parks, including Yellowstone, Yosemite and Mount Rainier. They stopped at Manhattan, Kansas in visit their nephew, K. W. Hofer. They camped out most nights until they reached San Francisco.


The car was a Chandler, Despatch model, which was “fitted for trip and camping purposes, being designed on the lines that facilitate arrangement for camping. The back of the forward seat tips to a horizontal position, the robe rail forming its support. The cushions reverse and the footrest is inverted and placed to fill the space between the end of the tilted front seat and the cushion of the rear seat. The footrest also contains room as a tool box.”[34]


After wintering in California, the Brannings motored back as far as Galveston, Texas, taking the boat there for New York.




Edwin Forrest Branning passed away from heart failure in 1930 while walking on the boardwalk at Ocean Grove, New Jersey. According to newspaper reports he had “left New York at 10 o’clock in the morning with his daughter, Mrs. Harding and her family. He and his son-in-law were walking along the boardwalk about 6 o’clock when he cried out: “Oh, Charlie,” to his son-in-law and fell into the latter’s arms dead.”


His funeral was held at his residence in New York, with services organized by the Masonic order, of which he was an active member. Branning was survived by his wife, four daughters and two sons. He was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York, where “under the canopy of the sky, and surrounded by banks of roses and lilies, and baptized by the tears of his friends his body was given back to mother earth. Thus, friends and associates said good-bye.”[35]


[1] “E. F. Branning Drops Dead of Heart Failure.” Sullivan County Record (Jeffersonville, New York). July 24, 1930.

[2] “Ed. Branning Drops Dead at Sea Shore.” Republican Watchman (Monticello, New York). July 18, 1930.

[3] Goodrich, Phineas G. History of Wayne County, Pennsylvania. Honesdale, PA: Haines & Beardsley, 1880. p. 136.

[4] Goodrich, Phineas G. History of Wayne County, Pennsylvania. Honesdale, PA: Haines & Beardsley, 1880. p. 136.

[5] Larsen, Neil. “Arlington Hotel,” National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 1983.

[6] Larsen, Neil. “Arlington Hotel,” National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 1983.

[7] “Winton W. Branning. Ex-Realty, Garage Executive.” Herald-Statesman (Yonkers, New York). July 10, 1958.

[8] “Winton W. Branning. Ex-Realty, Garage Executive.” Herald-Statesman (Yonkers, New York). July 10, 1958.

[9] “Narrowsburg.” Sullivan County Record (Jeffersonville, New York). July 23, 1886.

[10] “From Narrowsburg.” The Tri-States Union. 1885-1887.

[11] The Port Jervis Union (Port Jervis, New York). November 13, 1888.

[12] “Narrowsburgh.” Republican Watchman (Monticello, New York). February 27, 1891.

[13] The Evening Gazette. April 8, 1891.

[14] Sullivan County Record (Jeffersonville, New York). October 16, 1891.

[15] “Ed. Branning Drops Dead at Sea Shore.” Republican Watchman (Monticello, New York). July 18, 1930.

[16] “A Luck Three-Cent Piece.” Middletown Times-Press (Middletown, New York). March 10, 1893.

[17] Sullivan County Record (Jeffersonville, New York). November 30, 1894.

[18] “Narrowsburg.” Tri-States Union (Port Jervis, New York). June 13, 1889.

[19] “Edwin F. Branning.” Sullivan County Record (Jeffersonville, New York). October 25, 1895.

[20] “Notes About Town.” Sullivan County Record (Jeffersonville, New York). October 18, 1895.

[21] “The Brannings Are Coming.” Sullivan County Record (Jeffersonville, New York). November 1, 1895.

[22] “An Atrocious Scheme.” Republican Watchman. 1895.

[23] “Dealer in Everything.” The Scranton Tribune (Scranton, Pennsylvania). April 30, 1895.

[24] “Ed. Branning Drops Dead at Sea Shore.” Republican Watchman (Monticello, New York). July 18, 1930.

[25] “Ed. Branning Drops Dead at Sea Shore.” Republican Watchman (Monticello, New York). July 18, 1930.

[26] “Edward Branning on a Visit to Monticello.” Sullivan County Republican (Monticello, New York). April 30, 1920.

[27] Tazewell Republican (Tazewell, Virginia). April 4, 1901.

[28] Bennett, Eleanor F. “Big-Heartedness of Western Folk Impresses Tourists.” The Daily Telegram (Long Beach, California). November 5, 1920.

[29] “Ed. Branning Drops Dead at Sea Shore.” Republican Watchman (Monticello, New York). July 18, 1930.

[30] “Souvenir Card Business.” Tri-States Union (Port Jervis, New York). 1905 to 1907.

[31] “‘Traveler’ Again.” Tri-States Union (Port Jervis, New York). July 16, 1903.

[32] “Personal and Local Notes.” Republican Watchman (Monticello, New York). 1903.

[33] “Souvenir Post Cards.” Everybody’s Magazine. Vol. 16, No. 1. p. 62.

[34] “Transcontinental Trip Made By New York Man Driving Chandler.” The Daily Telegram (Long Beach, California). October 30, 1920.

[35] “Ed. Branning Drops Dead at Sea Shore.” Republican Watchman (Monticello, New York). July 18, 1930.



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