Here’s an absolutely wonderful Christmas postcard from 1906 that has a good luck theme. It’s not the first that we’ve encountered having what would today seem to be the unlikely combination of yuletide and luck: Here’s another great example. Anyway, I guess we could describe the central design of this card as a Christmas ornament: It’s of a silver four-leaf clover suspended inside a round flattened silver piece that has a horseshoe design imprinted on it. Fastened at the top is a long red ribbon done up in a bow, unfurling and artistically framing the ornament. The cursive “Merry Christmas” greeting is embossed in green, and the background in tan with a greenish hue shows a subtle diamond-shaped or lattice-work style pattern. A very elegant card! The clover is the most heavily embossed and is especially beautiful. The postcard is signed on the front by the sender, Irene Ockerson, who mailed it from Red Oak, Iowa, to “Miss Grace Baldwin, Santa Cruz, California.”
Irene Ockerson was born in Iowa, about 1878, of Swedish-born parents Daniel J. Ockerson and Christine (Olsen) Ockerson. The 1880 Federal Census for Red Oak shows Daniel, age 42, occupation Laborer, Christine, age 34; their children Carl L., age 10, Florence, age 8, Irene, age 2; and sister-in-law to Daniel, Hannah Olsen, age 24, born in Sweden. Carl, the oldest child, was born in Illinois, while the girls were born in Iowa.
So, Irene would have been about 28 years old when she sent this postcard to Grace who would have been age 31. The 1900 census for Santa Cruz, shows Grace, age 24, born in California, November 1875, occupation School Teacher, living with her parents and brothers at 155 Locust St. A quick look at city directories shows Grace living at this address at least through 1917. The ’17 directory shows she was teaching at Mission Hill School. The 1900 census shows her living with her parents, who are age 53, born in Massachusetts, Fred D. Baldwin, occupation Farmer, and Mary A. Baldwin; and younger brothers, Arnold M., age 17, occupation Messenger Boy, and Rosco R. Baldwin, age 16 and in school.
From the multilingual back header, and the fact that it’s a divided back in 1906, we see that this card was not printed in the United States. Stamped in blue, above the header, is “Stone Lithograph.” What a wonderful thing to have a description of how the card was made actually included on the card; this is the first postcard, marked as such, that we’ve come across. See this Wiki entry on lithography for a detailed description. The publisher initials on the bottom left appear to be “B.K.W.I.” However, according to the excellent website The Postcard Album, this is publisher Brueder Kohn of Wien (Vienna, Austria). What appears to be the initial “I” is actually the Latin “1” which indicates the downtown Vienna postal district.
Lastly, we won’t go into any searching for a prior owner of this card, but we see that it was once in the collection of a Mr. Peter Barrale, who must also have treasured it.
Divided back, embossed, used postcard. Postmarked December 19, 1906 from Red Oak, Iowa. Publisher info: B.K.W.I. No. 2651. (Brueder Kohn, Vienna, post office 1.)
Sources: Year: 1880; Census Place: Red Oak, Montgomery, Iowa; Roll: 357; Family History Film: 1254357; Page: 310C; Enumeration District: 145; Image: 0621. (Ancestry.com)
Year: 1900; Census Place: Santa Cruz Ward 3, Santa Cruz, California; Roll: 112; Page: 20B; Enumeration District: 0090; FHL microfilm: 1240112. (Ancestry.com)
Santa Cruz County Directory, 1916-1917. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989.
Lithography. n.d. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithography. (accessed December 26, 2014).
“Postcard Printer & Publisher Research.” The Postcard Album. Web accessed December 26, 2014. [http://www.tpa-project.info/html/body_identification.html]