1911 Green Dress

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

Monday, November 13, 1911: A veritable winter day. Gee whiz! But it is cold. I wore my heavy green dress to school, which was oh so comfortable. Rachel was down this evening and Rufus served us with pop corn.

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

I found this drawing of a green school dress in the September 1911 issue of Ladies Home Journal. I wonder if Grandma’s heavy green dress was similar to it.

A hundred years ago Ladies Home Journal  readers could order patterns so that they could make the clothes featured in the magazine:

Patterns for the designs shown on this page can be supplied at fifteen cents for each number, post-free. The amount of material required for the various sizes is printed on the pattern envelopes. Order from your nearest dealer in patterns: or by mail giving number of pattern, bust measure, and age, and including the price to the Pattern Department, The Ladies’ Home Journal, Philadelphia.

Note where readers were directed to send their pattern order. It’s hard to believe that a hundred years ago just putting Philadelphia down as the address would get a letter to the right place.

Rachel and Rufus

In this post Grandma refers to her sister Ruth as Rufus. Rachel was their friend Rachel Oakes. She was the primary teacher at McEwensville.

6 Responses

  1. It may just be me, but I think modern day run way models learned eating disorders from those before them, I am sure this lady ate like a bird!! LOL I liked the post, brings back memories, I love to look through old magazines to see just how much as changed over the years! Good Job Shery.!

    • The women in the drawings do look very slender. I’ve sometimes wondered if eating disorders existed back then. When browsing through old magazines and books I’ve never seen anorexia or bulimia mentioned (even by a different name).

      • I remember reading an article somewhere that suggested perhaps the Brontë sisters were anorexic, as they were all terribly thin and died young.

        • Interesting–I’d never heard that about the Bronte sisters.

          I’ve occasionally wondered if people with eating disorders were less visible back then. I’ve noticed that old family medical guides discuss various home treatments for food poisoning (which was more common a hundred years ago). They include recommended treatments that sound very similar to procedures individuals with bulimia might use today.

  2. I love the research you do, which makes your grandmother’s diary notes come to life!

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