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Love Letters, 1909

The tender expressions of young love typically exchanged on Valentine's Day have not always been encouraged. The Omaha Daily News on November 21, 1909, announced a postal lid on such missives:

"No more will Omaha's fair young damsels, who have not yet reached their majority, be able to correspond with their erstwhile sweethearts through the medium of the general delivery department of the postoffice, if Postmaster Thomas or his assistants can help it. The postmaster says it is an evil that has been growing in Omaha for several years and he has made up his mind to put a stop to it.

"He says a large number of the applicants for mail at the general delivery window daily are young girls who cannot be more than 17 or 18 years old and are probably forbidden to receive letters at home. Mr. Thomas says he has no inclination to stand in the way of legitimate love affairs, but he doesn't want to be a party to any elopements, or to mix in any trouble brought on by an irate father or mother. . . . The method of procedure from now on will be to closely scrutinize every member of the fair sex who may have the appearance of being under the age limit and if the situation warrants it, she will be questioned or refused her mail unless identified by an older member of the family.

"'Only the other day a young girl who didn't look to be more than 16, came into my office with tears streaming down her cheeks, asking that I deliver to her a letter, she having been refused at the window,' said the postmaster. 'In this case it was a registered letter coming from a friend and she had been required to furnish some identification. She is employed by a reputable firm in the Bee building and had gone to them for advice after she had been turned down at the window. They counseled her to come to me. . . .[F]inally after a heart-to-heart talk and some pretty strong advice I gave her the letter, but I made her promise that she would never be the recipient of another letter under such circumstances."

Postmaster Thomas concluded, "It was a lesson to her and we want to teach a few more of them along similar lines."

(February 2005)



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