Iowa Children in Snow–May 1920

This real photo postcard is dated May 1920 and  shows five children standing in the snow.

The handwriting on the back of the postcard seems to be by two different people, with the first asking “Do you know any of these?” and the second replying with the names of  four of the five children: Ruth Clausen, Carl Clausen, Hazel McMullen, and Alice McMullen.

By starting with the name “Carl Clausen” and the year 1920, I was able to find the name of the fifth child and the location of the photo.The location is Glidden, Carroll County, Iowa, and the name of the fifth child is Gladys McMullen. Glidden is in west central Iowa and had a population of 867 in 1920.

The Clausen children were aged 10 (Carl) and 9 (Ruth) at the time of the 1920 census; the McMullen children were aged 8 (Alice), 7 (Gladys) and 3 (Hazel).

It seems likely that this photo was taken to record an unusual May snowstorm. I couldn’t find a record of a 1920 May snowstorm–1920 was not one of the years with record May snowfall in Iowa.

The following is a listing of central Iowa and statewide records that were surpassed in May 2013, along with previous records listed in parentheses. (Source: May 1-3, 2013 Historic Spring Snowstorm)

– Highest May Storm Total Snowfall: 13.0″ in Osage
(10.0″ in Le Mars on 5/28/1947)
– Biggest Iowa Snowstorm based on Average Statewide Snowfall: 3.3″ **
(1.2″ on 5/28/1947)
– Latest Spring Storm to produce more than a Foot of Snowfall: 5/1/2013 to 5/3/2013
(4/20/1918 and 4/20/1992)

Visit Sepia Saturday 400
for more vintage family/group photos

Sepia Saturday 400 Header : 6 January 2018



About postcardy

I am a longtime postcard collector who has been creating websites and blogs based on my postcard collection since 1998.
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7 Responses to Iowa Children in Snow–May 1920

  1. Love this post! Never thought of looking up the names of senders, recipients or others mentioned on vintage postcards…until now, that is. Thanks for the idea!


  2. Nice detective work! Photos taken in snow are always a challenge and someone took time to get the camera out for this group. Checking the newspaper archives there was an April snowstorm at Easter in Nebraska which might have blown over Glidden too. That is a superior town house in the background, not a typical farmer’s home.


  3. smkelly8 says:

    I love this wintry photo and all their smiles.


  4. Barb Rogers says:

    Getting the children out of the house after a snow has kept them in for a few days, parents are so happy to have them run around…no wonder they took a picture!


  5. tony zimnoch says:

    They Look Really Pleased About The Weather!


  6. La Nightingail says:

    I was confused for a moment because the written names were not listed in the order the children were standing. 🙂 The two McMullen sisters Alice and Gladys, dressed exactly alike, are on opposite ends of the back row, their little sister Hazel in front, with Ruth & Carl Claussen in the middle of the back row – yes?. Glad I got that figured out, and I really like the picture of them all bundled up in the snow.


  7. Little Nell says:

    They look well insulated against the cold!


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