E84: Ben Irving Postcard Project with Tyler Sonnichsen

Ben Irving hanging out in Florida, sometime in the late 1950s

This week, I’m joined by Tyler Sonnichsen, who has a huge collection of his great-grandfather’s postcard collection from the 1930s and 1940s. 

Tyler’s great-grandfather, Ben Irving, was a musician. Traveling salesman. Vaudeville performer. And prolific postcard writer. Tyler has his great-grandfather’s postcards…and all kinds of terrific stories to accompany them.

Tyler is a PhD geographer and comedian based in Michigan and Florida. He teaches Human and Cultural Geography at Central Michigan University. He’s the author of Capitals of Punk: Paris, DC, and the Circulation of the Underground as well as work on the vinyl record industry and the history of Parisian hardcore punk.

You can follow more of his writing and research at SonicGeography.com. He released his second standup album, Modern Life is Awesome, on RainShine Records in 2018.

Ben Irving Postcard Project on Instagram


Tyler, the Palmer House Hotel 1952 postcard, in the Palmer House hotel banquet room depicted.

The Hotel Sara Sota (Sarasota, FL) 1930’s postcard/ground truthing photo

The Sea Gull Trio at the premiere of WTIC radio in Hartford, 1925. Ben Irving is standing behind the microphone with the violin.

6 comments on E84: Ben Irving Postcard Project with Tyler Sonnichsen

  1. Debby Kain says:

    Tyler, I have grandpa’s violin! You should have it, no question. I’ll give it to you at Thanksgiving or Christmas. I adored this podcast. You nailed it all. I love how you connected all the dots. Xo

    1. Frank says:

      What a great outcome! And what a terrific family you guys are.

  2. Dave says:

    A wonderful guest and podcast episode Frank! Nice work as always

    1. Frank says:

      Thanks, Dave. Great guests makes my job easy!

  3. Ed says:

    Great family story. Great info

    1. Frank says:

      I’m completely fascinated with Tyler’s story about this.

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