Old Postcard from a Piano Store

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

Saturday, March 29, 1913:  Ma and I went to Milton this morning. The chief object of which was the buying of me a graduation dress. It is a plain white batiste to be trimmed with lace insertion and edging. I got some other things besides. Ma bought a piano. I’m so glad for now I can learn to play.


Caption: Patience Personified

piano.postcard.backI recently visited the Roller Mills Antique Center in Lewisburg and found this old post card that advertised a piano store in Milton. Did Grandma and her mother buy their piano from C.A. Bennage? 

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

What a fun shopping trip!—It’s amazing that Grandma and her mother bought BOTH a graduation dress and a piano on the same trip.

A piano is a major purchase. In this era before women’s rights, I’m surprised that Grandma’s mother was able to make a purchase of this size without her husband coming along. Even today, I think that both spouses would generally be actively involved in making a purchase of this size.

26 Responses

  1. How wonderful that you tracked down this Post Card Sheryl. I’m looking forward to Miss Muffly sharing her experiences with their brand new piano… :-)

  2. Wow! You’re right about Grandma’s mother buying a piano on her own! What a wonderful shopping trip!

  3. The piano purchase must have been planned, discussed at home, and planned again before your Great Grandma went ahead and bought it. That’s my guess since it was such a major decision. The graduation dress sounds lovely too and how excited Grandma must have been.

  4. Great sleuthing! (How many piano stores might have been in Milton?)
    And the postcard is adorable :)

  5. I’m surprised, too! But I love how the dress was ready to be trimmed–not a finished product in itself! So they could personalize it.

  6. Roller Mills is a wonderful place to find little historical treasures. I wish they were able to take pictures like they do today, I would love to see her in the dress.

  7. Wondering if she ever did learn how to play the piano. I hope she did!

  8. I was surprised by the piano, too.

  9. I hope we hear more about that piano!

  10. Hi. For me, a graduation dress was a prom gown. I wonder if Helena’s dress was to look nice at the graduation ceremonies???? I’m anxious to hear if they had a graduation dance. Jane

  11. Yah, that’s not exactly something you’d pick up at the checkout on impulse…LOL Way to shop ladies!

    • I love antique stores and flea markets. I’m so often amazed how I happen upon random items that I can use to illustrate diary entries.

  12. […] seamstress in McEwenville was making the dress for her. In a previous diary entry, she described it a plain white batiste dress trimmed with lace insertion and […]

  13. […] The piano was almost new. Grandma’s mother purchased it on March 29, 1913: […]

  14. Yeah, I was surprised at how casually she mentioned it. A lot of pianos today cost, like, what? At least $1000 dollars? I’m not sure–we got ours for free from MY Grandma! (But it still costs a TON to tune it!)

  15. […] time in the diary that Grandma referred to the materials used to make a dress as a “dress”. On March 29, 1913 she […]

  16. […] I assume that the lessons will be piano lessons since Grandma wrote on March 29, 1913: […]

  17. […] Grandma’s mother bought the piano for her in the Spring (and undoubtedly spent a lot of money on it), so I suppose that she felt like […]

  18. […] Grandma’s mother bought the piano the previous spring—and Grandma began lesson shortly thereafter. Did her mother buy the piano to in an attempt to make Grandma feel more content on the farm? […]

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