Historic Events That Had NOT YET Occurred in 1911

16-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Wednesday, November 8, 1911: Such stinkers in Algebra as we are having at present is enough to make your head giddy. Of all my six studies Algebra is just about the hardest, excluding geometry, which we commenced to take up several days ago, and General History, which we begin tomorrow. Ma and Ruth are out tonight but I staid in.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

I wonder what Grandma was going to study in General History.

Think of all the historic events that seem like they happened very, very long ago—but which had not yet occurred a hundred years ago.

Grandma WAS NOT studying the history of:

  • World War I (It began in 1914 after the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria.)
  • The Soviet Union (The Russian Revolution of 1917 ended the Russian Empire. The Soviet Union was founded in 1922.)
  • Prohibition (The 18th amendment which addressed prohibition was ratified in 1919.)
  • Women’s suffrage (The 19th amendment which gave women the right to vote was ratified on 1920.)
  • How New Mexico or Arizona–or for that matter Alaska or Hawaii–had become states (New Mexico and Arizona entered the Union in 1912; Hawaii and Alaska entered the union in 1959.)
  • The presidency of Woodrow Wilson (He would be elected in 1912 and take office in 1913.)
  • Radio (The first scheduled radio broadcasting was in 1916.)
  • The Panama Canal (It opened in 1914—though Grandma probably read newspaper articles about the building of the canal.)
  • The personal income tax (The 16th amendment which allowed the personal income tax was ratified in 1913.)
  • Insulin (Insulin was discovered in 1922.)
  • The direct election of senators by voters  (Prior to  the 17th amendment being ratified in 1913 senators were selected by state legislators.)

4 Responses

  1. I love your quandary. It didn’t even occur to me that the things we view as history was still to come in her future. I also wonder what she was about to study in General History.

    • I need to find an old high school history text book–and then I’ll have a do another post on what they studied. But I would guess that the Civil War was a bigger part of the history course back then than it is now. It ended about 45 years before this diary–and I think that there was a lot of interest in remembering the war at that time.

  2. I really love your list in this post! Incredible. Thank you, so much, for sharing in this context. Excellent! ;-)

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