Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

These postcards were sent to my grandfather Carl (Karl) in North Dakota around 1909 and 1910, from Norway and the U.S. Some are so old I can only guess at the signatures on the back. The writing is faded and all is in Norwegian. I believe two of the cards are from a girlfriend, a fiancee Carl left behind. She never joined him in America (some say she got tired of waiting for him to send for her).

[From ??]
Carl immigrated to America in 1906 alone, a brave journey for a young man of 22 years to take. He had the equivalent of $20 in his pocket. He left a girlfriend and his family behind, including his parents Oline and Johan and four brothers, Kristian, Ragnar, Elias, and John. He worked as a farm laborer in North Dakota and eventually moved to Washington state. None of the cards are really valentines, but all are about longing for romance.
[From Ragnar]    
  [From Ragnar]

An interesting picture of the "proper" kiss and culture of the time. The kiss is initiated by the man, and the bedazzled woman is swooning at his touch. Notice the wine glass in her left hand. Her other hand has a watchful guard on his hand, and her eyes are wide open. Mama taught her well, I think. It is just past midnight. Is the occasion New Year's Eve? Past her curfew?  

[From parents, Oline and Johan]
Ah . . . a romantic yearning for love put to words in poetry. Carl did not meet and marry my grandmother (Marie) until 1918, twelve years after his arrival in America. Too bad there is scribbling on the airplane. The world was so in love with airplanes then. 

And . . . I happen to know a pilot today who is just as enamoured with this machine! 



Copyright 2013 © Sharon Himsl
[postcards from Gravseth family archive]


  1. What wonderful cards. Thanks for sharing. I expecially like the 'proper' kiss.

    I found you from the A-Z Challenge. I look forward to reading your blog.

  2. Thanks for visiting my blog! I really like your "Things We Collect" posts. Looking forward to seeing your entries for A to Z!

  3. Thanks for sharing these images, Sharon! It was so nice to meet you on my blog; glad you stopped by to say 'hi'.

  4. These are wonderful postcards! Thank you for sharing them! The "proper kiss" one is delightful, and I just love the one with the airplane, too.

  5. My maternal grandparents immigrated - from Sweden - about the same time yours did. I was amazed to find out these teenagers did not come with family but with a group of friends. No lovely post cards found in their effects after their deaths. They were not much for looking back.

  6. Postcards of days gone by. The airplane one is my favourite. How wonderful!

  7. Thanks everyone for your comments on the cards. It was so much fun finding these in an old box of my mother's things and learning about my ancestors when they were young. Like 'Commonweeder's' family, many immigrated to America without family at a young age.


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