If I had known that the 1940 census would be this interesting I would have started looking at it a lot sooner.
The last piece I posted for this blog was about my husband’s family’s appearance in the 1940 census and a surprise it held. I made the point that although we think we know everything about people with whom we lived or whom our parents knew well, there are always things we don’t know.
I got quite the surprise when I looked for my family. My grandparents, my aunts and uncles and older cousins are all in the census, all living in Philadelphia, but there is an extra son in my Aunt Ethel’s family. Anomalies in the census always raise the question is it real or is it a mistake of the census taker, is it a disinterested lie to get the census taker out the door or an intentional falsehood for who knows what reason. .
Here are the lines from the census.
There are my aunt and uncle and the two sons I know well, my cousins Marvin and Dan, but between them is Morris who my aunt reported was her son.
Morris isn’t there in the 1930 census, just Marvin and Dan. I checked with my older cousins, no one remembers another son.
I have spent a little time looking for Morris Kessler, but I haven’t found anyone who seems related to my family. So, who is Morris? Is he a real person who lived for some time with my aunt and uncle or was he just another kid hanging out in the house when the census taker arrived?
I recently found this clipping from the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin in a box of stuff I was sorting through.
The clipping is dated January 1942. I know this from the reverse side, which features a patriotic advertisement.
Here is a better picture of young Dan.
Whenever I look back on this time in history I am reminded of the hardships that families endured with men away and money and commodities in short supply. The government needed money to fight the war and the budget deficit was soaring. With rationing and price controls in place personal savings rates were high. The government tapped these personal resources to finance the deficit and the war. People of every economic status gave generously to finance the war effort.
In April of 1941 Series E savings bonds were initiated. The bonds were renamed Defense Savings Bonds. People could purchase Defense Saving Stamps and paste them into albums to be exchanged for bonds. $18.75 would buy a bond that would yield $25 at maturity. Stamps were sold in denominations ranging from ten cents to five dollars.
The newspaper carrier boys’ defense stamp promotion was started by the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin in the September of 1941 and eventually included 900 newspapers and 150,000 carriers across the nation.
My cousin Dan sold 57,000 stamps, making him the ” Nation’s No.1 defense savings stamp salesman.” I love his statement that “equal credit should go to the thousands of newspaper carriers like himself all over the country who’ve sold 40,000,000 stamps since The Bulletin inaugurated the plan in September.”
It sounds like cousin Dan should have run for public office. He didn’t. He moved to California and spent his working life in the growing entertainment industry. He lives in the Los Angeles area now with his wife of 56 years with children and grandchildren nearby.