It was an ordinary Spring day in 1945 when my mother took the car to pick up her father from the barber shop, where he was getting a haircut. She expected that he would be ready, or nearly so, but as she stopped the car in front of the barber shop and looked through the big plate-glass window, what she saw astonished and perplexed her. There was her father in the barber’s chair, but the barber had scissors held motionless in mid-air! In fact, there was no movement at all of the barber, her father or any of the customers. And they all were staring fixedly at the wall! It was as though she were gazing into a wax museum! The traffic was building up behind her automobile, so she drove around the block. When she returned to the shop, her father was ready to be picked up. She inquired, “Whatever was happening in the barber shop, that everyone was frozen?” Her father replied, “We were all intently listening to the radio. You see, the radio announcer was broadcasting the news that our president, Franklin Roosevelt, has died.” The date was April 12, 1945. President Roosevelt died at 3:35 PM, and the news quickly spread across the nation. Commercial broadcast television was less than four years old, and the few commercial television stations that did exist at the time were off the air during World War II, so the news flash about president Roosevelt’s death was transmitted mostly through the radio medium. According to the Wikipedia entry for John Charles Daly, Mr Daly, who was a reported for CBS radio, was “…the first to relay the wire service report of the death of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on April 12, 1945, interrupting “Wilderness Road” to deliver the news.” the other primary means of disseminating information at that time was the print media, and, at that time, the print medium that was able to deliver news to the citizenry the fastest was the daily newspaper. President Roosevelt died in “the little White House” in Warm Springs, Georgia, and the Augusta Chronicle published two newspaper articles about the unexpected death of the president in its issue of April 13, 1945. But it was the radio announcement that had the most impact on the people who heard it. My mother, and I’m sure her father, too, remembered for the rest of their lives exactly where they were when they heard the news that president Roosevelt had died. On his blogsite Moments with Clyde, Clyde McDonnell tells the story of the exact circumstances when he heard the news of FDR’s death, thus:
“I was 12 years old when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt died. It was on Thursday, April 12, 1945. I heard the news on the radio of one of my customers on my newspaper route. I sat down on the street curb and cried. I felt as if God had died.”
If you have a story about where you or a relative were when hearing of the death of President Roosevelt, please add a comment at the bottom of this post, and I will consider including it.
Very soon after the president’s death, The Post Office Department announced a series of four commemorative postage stamps: The design of the stamps all show the portrait of FDR in an oval on the left side of the stamp, with “Roosevelt” centered under the oval, and “1882″ and “1945″ bracketing the lower area of the oval. The three cent stamp was issued first (in 1945, three cents was the first-class postage rate to mail a letter that weighed less than one ounce), with a first day of issue of June 74, 1945. The one cent commemorative stamp was issued next (one cent was the rate to send a post card in 1945), on July 26, 1945. The two cent stamp followed on August 24, 1945, and a five cent stamp rounded out the commemorative series, with a first day of issue of January 30, 1946.
So, the one cent stamp on this postcard had been available for a little under two months when Jennie applied it to the postcard that she sent to Clifford Daniels on September 14, 1945. The postcard is postmarked with a machine cancel from Princeton, Illinois (the county seat of Bureau County). The stamp was taken from the upper edge of the sheet of stamps, as indicated by the selvedge still attached to the top of the stamp.
The view on the obverse (front) of this linen-era postcard is:
LAKE TANEYCOMO FROM POINT LOOKOUT, SCHOOL OF THE OZARKS
“IN THE BEAUTIFUL OZARKS, LAND OF A MILLION SMILES”
The reverse (back) of the postcard has a short description of the origin of the word “Ozarks”:
“The origin of the name ‘Ozarks’ has been traced to a term used by early French-Canadian Trappers–’Aux Arcs,’ meaning ‘with bows’–to designate Indian tribes native to this region.”