The illustrated envelopes presented here were hand-colored by Joseph Dennis McNeil, and sent, with a few exceptions, to his fiancée, Ellen Josephine Redding, who was living in Nicasio and San Rafael during their courtship. This collection spans the years 1925 to about 1933. At this time, Joseph was working for Schmidt Lithograph Company in San Francisco and then in Los Angeles.
Joe and Ellen had met as youngsters in Nicasio. They were married on August 9, 1928, at St. Mary's Church in Nicasio, the same church where her own parents were married, and in which she was baptized. Joe and Ellen raised their family in Los Angeles.
Included here are: an envelope addressed to Joseph's future father-in-law (also named Joseph), whom he calls "Pa Redding," and references to the births of the couple's two oldest children, Joseph and Lawrence.
Joe and Ellen were married for 47 years before Joe passed away on August 8, 1975. Shortly afterwards, Ellen relocated from Los Angeles to the family property in Nicasio with one of her daughters, Martha. On June 13, 1987, Ellen died at the age of 87. She was survived by two sons, Joseph and Lawrence, and two daughters, Mary Ellen and Martha; her brother George; and nine grandchildren. To read and listen to Ellen Redding McNeil's oral history interview from July 15, 1980, click here.