1913 Gift Suggestions

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

Sunday, May 4, 1913:  Went to Sunday School this afternoon. Although it is over a week since commencement, I received a present today. Making eighteen in all.

Sewing bag (Source: Ladies Home Journal, November, 1913)

sewing bag (source: Ladies Home Journal, November, 1913)

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

Hmm. . . What present did Grandma receive? . .

It probably was a small gift from her Sunday School teacher or another church member. . . maybe something  handmade.

Grandma previously mentioned getting a hat pin, a handkerchief, a $2 bill, and a dress.

The November, 1913 issue of  Ladies Home Journal suggested a few small gifts that could be made for 25¢ to $1. The magazine probably was thinking about Christmas when they published the article, but many of the gifts would have been equally appropriate as graduation gifts.

hair bow

hair bow



Book cover

book cover

28 Responses

  1. Sheryl, I really enjoy the pictures you research and add to your posts! My mom let me have one of my grandmother’s old purses – so charming!

    Blessings ~ Wendy

    • The old purse sounds like a wonderful memento of your grandmother. I also find some of the old purses to be really delightful.

  2. She did receive a lot of presents! I love the gift ideas you came across for 1913, I’m so old-fashioned in my taste and would love any one of those as a gift, even now. :)

  3. Gosh, I am not that old ! but I do remember making a draw string bag at sewing class at school. And I am delighted to see the book cover. I was remembering these the other day and thinking how practical they were. I couldn’t find one when I wanted one for my great grandmother’s Bible a few years back but I suppose one could find them on Etsy these days.

  4. Fascinating post again! Really lovely to see the beautiful old-fashioned gifts. I would love to have received any one of them!

  5. Examples of those gift suggestions are in antique shops today! Sure wish Grandma had elaborated on what gift she received…

  6. I had a drawstring bag when I was a girl, it was not as fancy as the one in your photo. I also love all the research you do for your posts.

    • Thanks for the nice note. I have a lot of fun doing the research for the posts–and it’s always wonderful to hear when others appreciate it.

  7. Totally cute sewing bag, I’d use that everyday. The basics yesterday are the heirlooms today.

    • It is a nice sewing bag! I’ve also thought that it could be re-purposed as a large purse that could hold a laptop or Ipad.

  8. I love that you research more into what your grandmother may have been referring to in her diary.

  9. so very interesting. As someone who *almost* lost a bag/purse today, I was very interested in this post! I also always think of my grandmother(s) when reading your blog.

  10. 18 gifts in all – I would think that was quite a few for this time. I liked seeing the ideas from LHJ.

    • I tried to remember how many gifts I received when I graduated from high school. It’s been too many years to remember. . . but I think that it was quite a bit less than 18.

  11. Beautiful, nostalgic, generous, so thoughtful. Perfect for mother’s day post. God bless my friend.

  12. Being that your Grandmother couldn’t wait to finish school I’d say the pretty drawstring purse and hairbow would have made her very happy. The book cover, maybe or maybe not.

  13. I wouldn’t mind receiving any of those gifts today!
    Eighteen? Wow! Wonder what all the other stuff was?

  14. […] wonder how many graduation gifts in total Grandma received.  On May 4, she […]

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