Elizabeth Craddick was born May 7, 1878 in Knoxville, Iowa. Her parents, Woodruff and Hannah (Woodruff) Craddick, moved to Osborne, Kansas shortly after Elizabeth’s birth.
Elizabeth began work in 1918 in the Osborne Post Office. For a time in 1930 and again later she was the only female postal carrier in the United States for several months. Movie newsreels were made of her delivering the mail on the streets of Osborne, which made her a nationally famous figure for a time.
Osborne County Farmer
January 30, 1936
ASSOCIATED PRESS FEATURES LOCAL LADY
Miss Elizabeth Craddick, who for seventeen years has carried mail as a village and city carrier in Osborne, was the subject of a feature story carried by the Kansas City Star and other papers of the Associated Press. The Salina Journal, Great Bend Tribune and several others carried pictures of Miss Craddick and her automobile, showing her on duty on her route. Following is the story:
It’s an opportunity few, if any, other city housewives have for the “mailman,” Miss Elizabeth Craddick, is one of the few, if not the only woman city mail carrier in the United States. She never hesitates she said, to take time to inquire about the health of families along her route or to ask about Johnnie’s measles. She knows personally all the people along her route. “And not only that, I know every pet cat and dog over the entire territory.”
“The people are all my friends for I have learned to have a personal interest in all of them, and don’t hesitate to take the time to inquire about their health and how many teeth the baby has.”
At the time Osborne changed from village to city carrier service on November 1, 1930, Miss Craddick had the distinction of being the only woman city carrier In the postal service. She has been a “mailman” for more than 17 years and is a welcome visitor all along her route.
Her route covers the entire third ward of Osborne and parts of the first and second. The total length is 6½ and she covers it twice a day using her automobile.
Formerly a school teacher, Miss Craddick entered the postal service in 1918 when the two village carriers entered the army. At first she didn’t like it. After the first day’s delivery which she found extremely tiresome Miss Craddick recalled, she “cried most of the night.” But she determined to hang on. Now she is happy with her work.
“I loved school teaching because I loved children and liked to be with them, but I love this work much better because I love the out-of-doors and the exercise in the pure air and then I love people.”
Miss Craddick taught school several years after graduating from Osborne high school. She quit because of ill health of her father. When she first entered postal service there were three other women village mail carriers in the country. At that time the parcel post packages were not delivered by foot carrier. This added burden, coupled with increasing business, caused Miss Craddick to ask for and obtain permission on March 30, 1931, to use her automobile in making her deliveries. Miss Craddick owns her own home and does her housework, but admits she doesn’t care much about keeping house.
Osborne County Farmer
June 22, 1939
Miss Craddick in Feature at Blair
Last fall newsreel cameramen came to Osborne to take pictures of Miss Elizabeth Craddick, the only woman city mail carrier in the world. This Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday those pictures will be featured at the Blair in a short subject entitled “Stranger than Fiction”. For twenty years, day in and day out, Miss Craddick has been delivering mail to 800 patrons on her route. She covers a seven-mile route twice each day, totaling in 20 years more than twice around the world. When she retires she plans to—you guessed it—travel. A film salesman here this week said that the feature showing Miss Craddick had been sent to nearly every country in the world. It will be shown here in connection with the latest Bing Crosby hit, “East Side of Heaven”.
Osborne County Farmer
May 29, 1941
Miss Elizabeth Craddick, who for almost 23 years has served Osborne residents as city mail carrier, this week tendered her resignation to the U. S. Postal Dept. to become effective, June 1. Miss Craddick who is said to be the only woman city mail carrier in the United States, started her work October 1, 1918 as village carrier and continued as such until November 1, 1930, when her work was designated as city carrier.
Elizabeth retired as a postal carrier on June 1, 1941. She passed away at Concordia, Cloud County, Kansas on December 9, 1955, and was laid to rest next to her parents in the Osborne Cemetery.