The Psychogenealogist Pic of the Week (#34)

Every Friday The Psychogenealogist shares a "Pic of the Week." The intent is to encourage thought and imagination about the spaces where psychology, genealogy, and history converge.

Where to begin with this one?!

What we have here is a postcard titled "Dr. Splosive's Corn Cure" sent in 1910.

"Dr. Splosive's Corn Cure"

The text on the front of the postcard reads:

"With a small gimlet bore neat holes in the corns causing the most trouble; fill with some high explosive, pressing in some gun cotton for a wad; place a giant cap on part treated, take small hammer in right hand and strike smartly. The effect will be very funny. It's hell to have sore feet."

What was apparently humorous 117 years ago strikes me as peculiar and quirky today. I love it!

Let's look at the back: 

Miss Edna Gassurburg

The post stamp indicates Bakersfield, California, sent in 1910. I can't make out the month or date. There is a canceled two cent U.S. postage stamp. It appears to be addressed to a "Miss Edna Gassurburg" in Visalia, California (though I am a little unclear about the salutation). The address appears to be 429 S. Locust. Some google maps cross referencing helped me identify the street. Bakersville is about 80 miles South of Visalia, California. 

Now, over to There is, indeed, an Edna "Gassenberg" listed in the 1910 United States Federal Census for Visalia Township in Tulare County, California. Edna is listed as living with her parents, Charles (56) and Elizabeth (50), as well as he two sisters, Louise (24) and Lillian (21).

Edna Gassenberg 1910 census CROPPED.jpeg

Edna is also listed as being 24, born in about 1886. Were Edna and Louise twins? My guess is no. I checked the 1900 and 1920 census and the two were listed as different ages. My experience is that ages on censuses should only be used as a guide - there are often many mistakes and miscalculations.

My best guess as to what the card actually says is:

Hello Sis
Recd your card. Glad all going well. Easy one here are ??? Am busy all the time with my work and (artelier loft??) carpentry on my house. ?? 
Best wishes, Boo (?)

Deciphering 100 year old faint cursive on the back of postcards is not my strong suit. Here is a tip though:

TIP: Use an online dictionary like The Free Dictionary to make an educated guess about words you can't make out.

For example, the last word on the 7th line down was not clear to me (it follows "with my work and"). My best guess was that the first letters were "atel". I typed that into the online dictionary with the words that "start with" boa checked. One of the words that it suggested was atelier:

Was one of Edna's sisters talking about her new home with and atelier? Seems like as plausible a guess as any. 


  • Who was writing to Edna?
  • What is the story behind the peculiar subject of the post card?
  • If this was Edna's sister writing, when did she move and buy a house?
  • Was she an artist? In art school?
  • How did the relationships between siblings change in adulthood during the early 1900s vs. today?
  • Are there any relatives of Edna's today who would be interested in this card?

Do you have an old photograph or a genealogical story that you would like to share? I am happy to consider guest submissions for possible Pic of the Week or other blog posts in the future. Send an email to for more information.

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