NARA expects to digitally release the 1950 population census schedules for researcher use on April 1, 2022, which is 72 years after the official 1950 census.  This is the 40th in a series of blog posts on the 1950 census.

 

Modern employee identification cards are usually hard plastic and include the person's photo.  Not so the 1950 census enumerator's identification card!  This card -- Form 17 Per-3 -- was yellow cardstock measuring about 3 3/4 inches wide by 2 3/8 inches tall.

 

On the front, the words "U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of the Census / Washington" were printed in blue ink.  The Commerce Department's seal was printed in blue on both sides of the form.  In black ink, the card read:  "This certifies that [name] is employed as Enumerator--17th Decennial Census in the Bureau of the Census."  Next, there was space for the name and preprinted signature of Acting Director Philip M. Hauser, the signature of the enumerator, the signature of a validating officer,  and indication that the card was valid until June 30, 1950.

 

The back side of the card stated that "The person whose signature appears on the reverse [other] side is employed by the Bureau of the Census in the position shown.  He is authorized to perform the duties of said position in accordance with the laws of the United States and the regulations of the Bureau of the Census.  His authority will be respected accordingly."  The card also had a sequentially preprinted number with a "Z" prefix in the upper right corner and the instruction "(To be surrendered on leaving the service).  If found, drop in mail box.  Postmaster:  Postage guaranteed.  Return to:  Director of the Census, Washington 25, D.C."

 

Front side, Form 17 Per-3, Enumerator's Identification CardBack side, Form 17 Per-3, Enumerator's Identification Card
Front side, 1950 census enumerator's identification card, Form 17 Per-3Back side, 1950 census enumerator's identification card, Form 17 Per-3

 

In addition to the identification card, the 1950 census enumerator carried a variety of cards and control forms to assist in his or her work; these will be examined in a future blog post.

 

Source NotesThe sample enumerator's identification card is from "[Folder 0196] - Field Division - Record and Control Forms - Enumerator Record and Control Forms (National Archives Identifier 225357619)" in the "General Records Relating to the Seventeenth Decennial Census" (National Archives Identifier 3123930). Women were employed by the Bureau; the terms "he" and "his" were assumed to include "she" and "her."