Surprise Us – Write

Surprise Us Write pc1Surprise Us Write pc2

Divided back, used postcard. Postmarked from Merced, California, September 26, 1911. Image copyright 1911 by J. G. Steele.

Price:  $5.00

Three adorable puppies telling the receiver of this card to “Surprise Us – write.”  They look like they might be American Eskimo pups.

Postcard addressed to:  “Mrs. M. J. Canning, 126th – 20th Ave., San Francisco, Cal.”  Postmarked September 26, 1911 from Merced, California.

“Dear Louise – It seems ages since I heard from you hope you and your little ones are well – Would have seen you last month but I was laid up with malaria – am better now – Shirley started to school the first of this month – She is a big girl now she will be seven to morrow – Love to all and regards to Mr.  – Lovingly, Daisy”

Louise Canning was easy to find in the city directories. There are multiple entries there showing her with husband Montgomery J. Canning of Canning & Vinton Auto Co., and the business address shows as 453 and 455 Golden Gate Ave., San Francisco. Her friend, Daisy will be more of a challenge to locate….The only person that fits the description for Daisy (living likely in California in 1910, with five or six year old daughter named Shirley) is Daisy, born about 1882. She is married to Jesse Wood, born about 1878. They have two daughters, Shirley, born about 1905, and Marjorie, born about 1908. All family members are born in California. This is from the 1910 Federal Census taken in Merced.

The 1923 San Francisco City Directory shows Mrs. Louise E. Canning working as a clerk in a government prohibition office. This is rather interesting, along with finding her husband as co-owner of a car company (am presuming he and his partner’s company was a car dealership), and also quite interesting, the fact that Daisy had been sick with malaria, which is definitely surprising to read about nowadays, but must have been more common back then.

See Branch Brook Park In Winter, Newark, NJ for another Canning family card.

As to the postcard publisher, this is another one of those type that are unclear. The photo or image is copyrighted by J. G. Steele but was he the publisher? I’ve seen a reference to him (regarding another postcard for sale) with the publisher listed as Minneapolis Selling Co., but am not finding proof of this relationship. The one we have here seems to have been a series of four photos with these American Eskimo or Spitz puppies. He also did some with cats, and one or more with one of the pups and one of the kitties. The all seem to have been from 1911.

Sources: U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.

Year: 1910; Census Place: North West Merced, Merced, California; Roll: T624_89; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 0102; FHL microfilm: 1374102. (

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