Owl on tree branch with red moon in the background, with the caption “Tis the wise that visit.”
The sender wrote: “S.M. Anne: Send me by return mail pattern for your blk skrt; one with a cluster of tucks at front, back, and sides. Yours lovingly, Jo.” Inside the owl drawing Jo wrote, “Will write – later” and on the side, “How many yards / how wide did you get?”
Postcard addressed to: “Miss Annie Friyouf, Plymouth Iowa, Cerro Gordo Co”
Anne Friyouf turns up on the 1930 Federal Census for Plymouth, Iowa, as Anna Bliem, widowed head of household, born Iowa, about 1884, married at about age 31. Living with her is her widowed mother Barbara Friyouf, born Czechoslovakia about 1842; sister Mary Friyouf, single, born Czechoslovakia about 1872; and sister Barbara V.[?] Friyouf, single, born Czechoslovakia about 1874. No one in the family is listed as having an occupation on this census.
Anna married John Bliem on August 30, 1915 in Mason City, Iowa. The marriage record shows Anna as born about 1884 in Plymouth, Iowa and that her parents are Joseph Friyouf and Barbara Mar…k? (original image not available from online source.) John Bliem was born in New York City, age at time of marriage about 49, and his parents are John Bliem and Clara Claus.
The 1940 census, which shows Anna as head of household and includes her sisters, is very interesting in that it states Anna’s occupation is Postmaster. National Archives (NARA) records shows she was nominated for the post on April 23, 1934, was confirmed on May 7th, and that she retired on December 31, 1949. You might be surprised (as I was) to learn that it was not uncommon for women to be appointed as Postmaster (this is the official title, though some say Postmistress.) There were women postmasters before the Revolutionary War when the country was still under British rule, and in fact (without going into much researching and comparison) on May 5, 2008, in the United States, there were more women than men holding the position. The NARA website indicates also that it was common in rural areas for women to be appointed.
As far as Jo, the sender of the postcard, it’s possible she was a relative. There is a Josephine Friyouf showing up in city directories in Des Moines. Regarding the publisher, this info is not given but similar postcards found online show a copyright mark for R. L. Wells.
Undivided back, used postcard. Postmarked May 22, 1907 in Des Moines, Iowa. Publisher possibly R. L. Wells.
Sources: “Iowa, County Marriages, 1838-1934,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XJNP-46Y : accessed 11 Aug 2014), John Bliem and Anna Friyouf, 30 Aug 1915; citing Mason City, Cerro Gordo, Iowa, United States; FHL microfilm 1481039.
Year: 1930; Census Place: Falls, Cerro Gordo, Iowa; Roll: 647; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 0006; Image: 695.0; FHL microfilm: 2340382. (Ancestry.com)
Year: 1940; Census Place: Plymouth, Cerro Gordo, Iowa; Roll: T627_1146; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 17-8. (Ancestry.com)
National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Record of Appointment of Postmasters, 1832-Sept. 30, 1971; Roll #: 36; Archive Publication #: M841. (Ancestry.com)
“Post Office Records” National Archives Records Administration. Web accessed 12 Aug 2014.
“Women Postmasters” United States Postal Service. July 2008. Web accessed 12 Aug 2014.