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 day of April 1, 1950. This is the 50th in a series of blog posts on the 1950 census.
Car troubles can ruin your day. The 1950 census enumerators drove their own vehicles while doing their work, and some of them had car troubles, too, as we learn from memorandums written in autumn 1950 when the Census Bureau's Field Division asked for information about reimbursements given to enumerators for towing charges.
"Enumerator Heath of Jacksonville, Florida District Office stuck his car in the sand late one evening and had to spend the night in his car. He was towed in the following morning," according to a memorandum of November 7, 1950, from James C. Reddoch, Area Field Assistant, to Thomas W. McWhirter, Regional Supervisor, Atlanta, Georgia.
In the New York area, Regional Supervisor Zola Bronson reported on November 6, 1950, that "It is believed, however, that for the 39 District Offices operated under the jurisdiction of Area Office No. II during the Decennial enumeration, there were at least 40 or 50 cases of towing or automobile damage resulting from unseasonable road and weather conditions."
District Supervisor William A. Whitehurst on November 7, 1950, reported in detail an incident he had personally investigated that happened "on Tell Road, Ben Hill, Georgia at the residence of Mr. H. A. Freeze." Mr. Whitehurst stated: "The enumerator (whose name I do not recall that this moment) called at the residence of Mr. Freeze. Mr. Freeze has a long winding driveway to his residence which is considerably above street level. The enumerator parked her car in front of the garage, which was on an incline, and pulled on the handbrake. While enumerating Mr. & Mrs. Freeze the car rolled backwards and damaged a wire fence and one Pine tree on Mr. Freeze's property. Mr. Freeze made claim to the government for payment of repairing the fence and for a tree surgeon to give proper treatment to the tree. This the government paid and the case is settled so far as Mr. Freeze is concerned. I would like to point out the damage to the enumerator's car, which was in excess of $160.000, and as best that I recall, the enumerator received approximately $109.00 for the entire E.D. [Enumeration District]."
Source: Images 96-98, Binder 36-A, Special Enumerator Problems (National Archives Identifier 205683287); 17th Decennial Census Reference Materials, 1947-1954 (National Archives Identifier 2990119); Record Group 29, Records of the Bureau of the Census; National Archives, Washington, DC.
Tow Truck Aiding Stranded Motorist, November 1966 (National Archives Identifier 40571252)