US Inflation Rate, 1910 – 1915

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

Monday, December 29, 1913:  Earned ten cents this morning a-doing darling sister’s milking. She doesn’t always pay me, but that was the bargain this morning.


Data Source:  Consumer Price Index (Estimate), 1800 –, The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

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

10 cents!?!?!? I don’t think that I would have agreed to milk the cows for only 10 cents.  I guess that it’s better to be paid than not paid, but even by 1913 standards, 10 cents wasn’t much.

According to an online inflation calculator a dollar in 1913 is now worth $23.81—so a dime in 1913 is now worth $2.38.

There’s been a lot of inflation over the years—though the inflation rate was only 2.4 % in 1913.

33 Responses

  1. That’s funny to hear that Helena managed to get Ruth to pay her to do the milking.

  2. $2.38 for cow milking?! I think a raise is in order. :)

  3. Progress is I guess, always getting less for your money. And for many in the U.K. In 2014 finding a job that pays enough to pay the bills would be good!

  4. Wonder how Grandma talked Ruth into paying her to milk this time?!

  5. Agree with whispering…fewer people are finding jobs that pay the bills. People work hard. They deserve a living wage. Income disparity is huge in the U.S. It needs to be corrected.

  6. I agree with you – $2 just wouldn’t cut it! but the job had to be done and if Ruth wasn’t around there would be pressure from her parents, right?

    • I’m thinking the same thing. Grandma may have known that her parents were going to make her do Ruth’s chores–whether or not Ruth paid anything–so the small payment she managed to negotiate probably really pleased her.

  7. She always seems to take up the slack for her sister! I wish I had a sister like that!

  8. I guess she had post Christmas bills to cover too so every little bit helped!!

  9. I can remember my mother paying my sister and me a quarter to clean the house–and that was in the ’60s! But we were probably not very good at house cleaning, so maybe a quarter was fair.

  10. I love her comment “that was the bargain this morning” … :-)

  11. That dime went further back then and a bargain was a bargain and your word to your sister meant something.

  12. I don’t know. It’s a chore she was used to doing and 10 cents more than she had before, plus how much could her sister have paid? I used to get 30 cents allowance in the late sixties. Ten for church, ten for saving, and ten for spending.

  13. I’ve been following for just a little while because I’m currently interested in some ordinary family events surrounding WWI.

    I’ve an ancestor named Derr, too. Ellen Derr in “of Rockland” PA born about 1815 – died 1860, married John D. Clouser 2/27/1848. Had Peter D. Closer 1850 – 1927, married 1875 Sarah Elizabeth Fairchild 1854 – 1944. Had Mary Blanche Clouser 1876 – 1968. Some relations Lancaster County and Luzerne County: Scranton, Wilkes-Barre – Kingston area.

    We have part Amish background so I am thinking Derr is an Amish/German/Pennsylvania Dutch name although she had some English Ancestory.

    Does any of this ring a bell? I know the name Derr is from an area and not everyone is related. Thanks.

    • None of the names you listed ring a bell, but I’ve focused more on family history and my grandmother’s diary than on genealogy, so I’m really not sure if they are related. One of my cousins did a little genealogical research. This is what I have related to the Derr’s from her:

      Mary Opp married Christopher Derr in 1818. Christopher’s father emigrated from Germany in 1771. They had ten children including John Derr (1823). John Derr married Sarah Houseknecht. They had a daughter Phoebe who married Albert Muffly. Phoebe and Albert were Helena’s parents.

  14. Sheryl, I’ve nominated you for Blog of The Year 2013 :D

  15. I wonder if some of that goes back to the tongue fight they had a while back?

  16. “Rufus” paid :shock: … Good for you Miss Muffly :lol: :

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