The Psychogenealogist Pic of the Week (#98) - "My time is short"

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.

Here we have another curious and quirky postcard. On the front is a sullen looking man dressed in prison stripes sitting in his cell, #13. It reads: “My time is short” and “FOR 30 DAY PRISONERS ONLY”. The name “Earl” on the from matches the apparent sender of the postcard as indicated on the back.


It is addressed to a “Miss Jessie Pierce” of Galesburg, Michigan. It looks like it was sent in care of “Mrs. John Blake”. The postmark itself is very difficult to read. Given the style of the other postcards I have seen (and written about) I am guessing this postcard was send in the 1910s or 1920s.

Can anyone decipher the postmark?


The note on the back appears to read:

Dear Cousin: (Will? True?) lost his way at the show and he forgot to come down after Bessie. Bess was pretty mad. I suppose you got there all right. Bess ?? to True (?) and asked him something about the show. From Earl. Write back.

Test your Genealogy Research Chops!

Can you help me discover who the people referenced in this postcard are? Perhaps you could help me find a descendent related to this family who might like the postcard for a family history keepsake? Here are some questions to think about:

  • Who is Earl and what is his story?

  • Who is Jessie Pierce and what is her story?

  • Who were Mr. and Mrs. John Blake and what are their stories?

  • Who was Bessie and why did the difficult to identify person (True or Will or etc.) forget to come down after her?

  • Was Bessie ever able to get over her anger?

  • What show is being described?

  • What do you think, feel, and wonder about as you look at and read this postcard?

I would love to hear what you come up with!