Old Obesity Saying: “We Dig Our Graves with Our Teeth”

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

Tuesday, January 20, 1914:  Ditto

A recent photo of McEwensville

A recent photo of McEwensville

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

Since Grandma didn’t write much a hundred years ago today, I’ll share a few fun quotes about the dangers of over-eating from a hundred-year-old article:

A Greater Curse Than the Saloon

The saloon is a curse, we say. And it is. But when we speak of the saloon as the greatest curse in America we are beside the facts. Statistics plainly prove that overeating kills more people.

Kidney diseases and heart troubles are tremendously on the increase in America.  Nor is the rush and strenuous life of America alone to blame. Nor is it alcohol. Both are contributing forces, but the greatest of all is the inability, particularly of men, to eat rightly.

The majority of men overeat. A man at forty cannot do the work of a man at thirty any more than he can at fifty do the work he did at forty. And he cannot and should not eat the same food in quantity. He does not need it.

Physicians agree that after a man or a woman has turned the corner at forty the system no longer needs the same quantity of food required in early manhood or womanhood. It actually does its work better on smaller amounts.

It is an old but true saying that “we dig our graves with our teeth.”

Ladies Home Journal  (February, 1914)

You may also enjoy this previous post:

Are You Obese?: 1911 and 2011

Hundred-Year-Old Cures for Insomnia

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

Monday, January 19, 1914:  Nothing much doing this day.

Photo of a bedroom in April, 1912 issue of Ladies Home Journal.

Picture Source: Ladies Home Journal (April, 1912)

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

Since Grandma didn’t write much a hundred years ago today, I’ll share part of an interesting article on the causes and cures for insomnia that appeared in the March, 1914 issue of National Food Magazine.

To My Sleepless Friend

It is certainly true that thousands lose their health and many die every year through lack of sufficient sleep. Prolonged sleeplessness means nervous trouble of some kind and should not be neglected.

Rest Destroyers

The habitual use of stimulants and drugs.

The worrying habit.

The overwork habit.

Habitual overeating, or taking food at bedtime that is difficult of digestion.

The “wide-awakes” who cannot sleep themselves and disturb the rest of others.

The “fond mother” who wakes the baby to exhibit him to a friend.

The “early-to-bed” who interferes with the “late-to-bed’s” morning nap.

To Cure Insomnia

Strict attention to diet is an absolute necessity.

Weak, easily exhausted persons require food at short intervals (about every two hours).

The heartiest meal of the day should not be eaten later than 2 p.m.

Liquid nutriment or fresh, ripe fruit should be taken between meals.

No uncooked fruits should be eaten after the dinner hour.


Condiments and spices; strong acids; food that is difficult of digestion for you; tea, coffee and alcoholic drinks, usually.

As Sleep Inducers

A cup of hot water or hot milk before retiring.

A light sandwich (minced meat or chicken).

Never go to bed hungry, nor with an over-loaded stomach.

Lay aside business worries and other cares at sunset.

Take a walk, some light exercise, after the evening meal (one hour later).

Substitute muscle fatigue for brain tire.

When you go to bed, relax the muscles, lie on the right side, and think of something pleasant.


Don’t keep yourself awake trying to get to sleep. Give up the idea that you cannot sleep. Seek rest and repose first, and sleep will come naturally with time.

How to Remove Stains from Hands

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

Saturday, September 20, 1913:  I picked and picked at the potatoes today till there weren’t any more to pick and then I stopped. My hands presented quite a spectacle by the time I was through from being so badly stained. I don’t care though, Pa gave me a dollar.

tomato.juiceDid Grandma rub her hands with tomatoes or tomato juice to try to remove the stains? (Picture Source: Simply Recipes)

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

Work and more backbreaking work. . . at least the potatoes were all harvested (and  Grandma was a dollar richer).

Here’s some advice in a hundred-year-old book about how to remove stains from hands.

To remove stains, dip the hands into a dish of strong tea, rub well with a nailbrush, and rinse in tepid waters. Ripe tomatoes, also the juice of a lemon, will remove stains from the hands.

Housekeeper’s Handy Book (1913) by Lucia Millet Baxter

You may also enjoy reading a previous post on Harvesting Potatoes.


Headache Causes

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

Monday, September 15, 1913:  For one thing I’ve had a splitting headache this afternoon and it still continues.

rainy day

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

Ouch. . . headaches are no fun!  I wonder what caused Grandma’s headache.

Here is what a hundred-year-old book said about headaches causes:

Headache is a symptom rather than a disease, but there is no symptom which requires more careful investigation of its cause than that of headache. It occurs at all ages, but is most common from ten to twenty-five years and from thirty-five to forty-five years. Women suffer from headache more than men, in the proportion of about three to one. Headaches are most common in the spring and fall of the year and in the temperate climates.

Causes of headache—These may be classified into those in which the blood is at fault; reflex causes; various nervous disorders; and organic diseases.

The blood may be impoverished, as in the case of anemia, where there is a deficiency in hemoglobin; but by far the most frequent cause of headache is where the blood is disordered, as in gout, rheumatism, kidney diseases, diabetes, and the infectious fevers and malaria.

Among the more common reflex causes are eye-strain, especially errors of refraction; disorders of digestion, particularly constipation; and pelvic disorders, as in inflammation of the pelvic viscera.

Functional diseases of the nervous system causing headache are overwork, neurasthenia, hysteria, epilepsy, and neuritis.

Among the most common of the organic diseases is arteriosclerosis; other diseases are meningitis and brain tumors.

Personal Hygiene and Physical Training for Women (1911) by Anna M. Galbraith

You also enjoy reading a previous post on Old-Time Headache Remedies.


Hundred-Year-Old Advice About the Right and Wrong Ways to Care for a Baby

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

Saturday, September 13, 1913:  This day is a good bit like some other days.

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

Since Grandma didn’t write much a hundred years ago today, I’m going to share some fun drawings of the wrong and right ways to care for a baby that appeared in the October, 1913 issue of Ladies Home Journal.















How to Treat Fainting: Hundred-Year-Old Recommendations

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

Tuesday, September 2, 1913:  Papa was very sick today. He fainted this morning. I was scart quite a bit for I thought he was worse than what he really was.


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

Whew, what happened? I’d be “scart”, too.

What did the family do? Did they pull out a book that included information on home health care –perhaps the Compendium of Every Day Wants—to figure out how to treat him?

This is what the Compendium had to say:


This is caused by an interruption of the supply of blood to the brain. Lay the person down at once so that the head is lower than the body. Sprinkle the face with cold water and hold ammonia or smelling salts to the nose. If the person has any tight clothing, loosen such garments. Open the window to admit plenty of fresh air; apply hot bricks to the feet and avoid all noise and excitement. The person will revive without any attention in many cases, but in severe cases, a mustard paste may be placed over the heart; and if breathing stops, artificial respiration should be begun.

Compendium of Every Day Wants (1907)

Causes of Death in Pennsylvania During March, 1913

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

Saturday, June 14, 1913:  Nothing much doing.

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

Did you ever wonder if people died from different causes a hundred years ago than what they do today? Since Grandma didn’t write much a hundred years ago today, I’ll share an interesting article I found in the June 16, 1913 issue of the Milton Evening Standard.


Births Exceed Deaths in State During March

Births in Pennsylvania during March numbers 18,945, but to offset this increase in population the deaths numbered 11,000, the ratio of deaths to births being higher than the average.

Pneumonia, which always exacts heavy toll during the winter, caused 1,721 deaths in March. The deaths were distributed among the various diseases and other causes about as usual.

Following are the figures compiled by the bureau of vital statistics of the state department of health:

Typhoid fever. . .62

Scarlet fever. . . 100

Diphtheria. . . 171

Measles. . . 314

Whooping cough  . . . 77

Smallpox. . . 1

Influenza. .  .211

Malaria. . . 4

Tuberculosis of lungs . . . 817

Tuberculosis of other organs . . . 118

Cancer. . . 485

Diabetes. . .63

Meningitis . . . 87

Acute anterior poliomyelitis. . 7

Pneumonia . . . 1721

Diarrhea and enteritis, under 2 yrs. . . 240

Diarrhea and enteritis, over 2 yrs. . 63

Bright’s disease and nephritis .  . . 716

Early infancy. . . 716

Suicide . . . 76

Accidents in mines. . . 80

Railway injuries. . . 85

Other form of violence. . . 462

All other diseases. . . 4343


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,017 other followers