This postcard has a message on the back in Norwegian. At the top of the message is the name of a town, “Thief River Falls Minn,” followed by numbers which may be “17/12.” They could mean 17 December or December 1917. This type of photo paper was manufactured between 1904 and 1918.
A very kind visitor to this page, “Jag,” provided a translation of the message into English and Swedish in the comments under the post. This is her English translation, lightly edited:
My dear Johanna
I wish you a Happy New Year and if it is your wish a nice man. We are all well and I hope you all are too, over there. You must write to me and tell me a lot of news because it is always nice to hear from you. I don’t know if you recognize me on the card. I hope you have one of you to send me, too. Best regards Your Martta
Please write back soon.
The town of Thief River Falls was established in 1887 and incorporated in 1896, initially as a lumber-milling town. The name Thief River is a translation of the original Ojibwe name, which referred to a marauding band of Dakota Indians. The town’s Wikipedia page mentions the following statistic:
According to the ethnic heritage section of the 2000 Federal Census, 50% of Thief River Falls residents identify themselves as Norwegian-American, making Thief River Falls one of the most ethnically concentrated towns in the nation.
That information is from a 2002 article in the Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal, which also mentioned two Minnesota towns with German-American and Swedish-American populations.
In the photo, I love the simple studio setting. However, something is missing: coffee and cookies!
Page updated May 7, 2019.