For my current genealogical research, I'm interested in how telegrams were sent inside the USA, in the 1890's through 1920's. I do not have copies of any actual telegrams that were sent or received; my question is just to understand what was possible at the time.
I'm assuming that the sender was always identified to the receiver of the telegram. Please correct me if this is not so.
Did telegraph operators simply accept whatever sender name was provided, without requiring any ID?
For example, to notify a woman of the death of her husband, could someone (such as her still-living husband!) send her a telegram informing her of his death, and provide an arbitrary sender name: her husband's employer, coworker, friend, or a complete stranger?
To my understanding, in that era, sending a telegram was an in-person activity, requiring the sender to visit the telegraph office and orally provide the text of the telegram, the recipient, and the sender's name. This is in marked contrast to anonymously dropping a letter or postcard in an outgoing mailbox. In a small town, the telegraph operator may personally recognize the sender; would they allow the sender to use a different name on the telegram?