No Valentines

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

Friday, February 14, 1913:  Cupid didn’t send me any valentines. Didn’t feel very well this morning.

My dearest sister was going to a box social, and then didn’t go because no one came for her. I’m glad I wasn’t going for then I would have been disappointed.

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

Grandma didn't get any, but here is an example of a nice 1912 valentine postcard.

Hundred-year-old Valentine Postcard

I bet Grandma wished that a special guy had sent her a valentine like this one.

February must be the month for box socials. Grandma and her sister Ruth went to one the previous week-end.

Poor Ruth—it’s hard to be stood up. (Maybe I should be looking at this from Grandma’s perspective and feel happy—but I can’t help feeling bad for Ruth.)


Grandma’s matured a lot. In 1911 and 1912 she was really into sending ugly valentines–sometimes called vinegar valentines–to people who annoyed her; but in 1913 she never mentioned them. You might enjoy these posts  from previous years:

Anonymous Comic Valentines

Valentines: The Good, the Bad, and the Horrid

Bought Some Vinegar Valentines

Sending Ugly Valentines

Lincoln’s Birthday

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

Wednesday, February 12, 1913:  Whose birthday is it? I heard that question asked today. Knew it before anyway. Was weighed today. Not very pleasant news. It was a pound more than last time, but I owe some of that to heavier clothing.

At last we have our subject to write upon. Titled the American Revolution. Wonder if I could get the gold piece. At least I intent to try and do my best.

Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia

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

A hundred years ago two presidents’ birthdays were celebrated in February. Lincoln’s birthday was on February 12 and Washington’s on February 22– though Lincoln’s Birthday never was an official federal holiday.

In 1971, the observance of Washington’s Birthday was shifted to the third Monday in February as part of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. The Act did not change the name of the holiday, but it is now commonly referred to as Presidents Day in honor of both presidents.


On January 28, 1913 Grandma wrote:

Our teacher made such a wonderful proposition today. It was made to our class. The one who writes the best essay on a given subject is to receive a two dollar and a half gold piece.

At the time I’d assumed she just failed to mention the essay topic, but apparently it took the teacher half a month to come up with the topic.  . . .strange. . .


An aside—Whenever I gain a pound, I also owe some of the gain to heavier clothing. :)

Old Year (or New Year) Skulking Around the Straw Stack

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

Wednesday, January 1, 1913:

Greeting for January 1st 1913

Happy New Year Day

Hail the new year with all gladness,

Let us welcome it today.

For the joys it brings are many,

And its sorrows will not stay.

Now to make good resolutions;

Ones that we will never break,

Crushing down our weaker spirit

We should do this for our sake.

I would like to make a resolution

One that I would never break,

But the weaker spirit dwells within me,

And I’m doubting what to take.

Saw a rabbit this morning. Perhaps that was the new year come to welcome me. I fancied I saw either the old year or else the new year skulking around the straw stack, when I went out to milk this morning. It wasn’t quite day light so maybe that accounts for it.

I would like to resolve that I will study more this year, but I’m in doubt to whether my will power is strong enough. However I think I will at least make an attempt.

New Years Post Card, circa 1912

New Years Post Card, circa 1913

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

This blog is now at its halfway point. Grandma kept this diary for exactly four years—she began it on January 1, 1911 and the last entry was on December 31, 1914.

When I began posting these entries on January 1, 2011, I wasn’t sure I’d ever get to this point.  But I’ve had a wonderful time doing this blog.  I love doing research and finding materials. And, it’s been wonderful re-connecting with relatives and making many wonderful new friends.

I now fully expect—knock on wood—that I’ll post the last dairy entry one-hundred-years after Grandma wrote it on December 31, 2014.

It’s been a wonderful two years—and I look forward to sharing the next two years with you.


The Old Year is Vanishing Forever

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

Tuesday, December 31, 1912: Poor old year, how sad that you must die tonight and vanish forever into the gloomy past. Otherwise this day was the same as others. As I think of the approaching tomorrow, I wonder what that year will bring to me. I leave no deep regrets for this dying year, and though I have done things I ought not to have done, I hope they will not occur again to mar the beauty of the year 1913.

Source: Ladies Home Journal (December, 1913)

Source: Ladies Home Journal (December, 1913)

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

Does age affect how we think about the past?  I don’t think of the past as gloomy—though it gets murkier as time goes by.

New Year’s Eve is a good time for self-reflection. I love Grandma’s cautious optimism—and am keeping my fingers crossed that nothing marred 1913, and that it proved to be a beautiful year.

Holly caricature

Christmas Table Decorations and Centerpieces a Hundred Years Ago

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

Wednesday, December 25, 1912:  Xmas: I got a few presents: a purse, one dollar, an apron, a pinholder, a book, a bow, and a pair of slippers. Aunt Lizzie and Uncle George were here and Mrs. Besse to be sure.

We had a turkey and some ice cream. At present I feel like a stuffed toad from too much gourmandizing of a lot of good things. Guess I may call my Christmas a happy one and hoping everyone else has enjoyed the same likewise I’ll bring my entry to a close.


Click on picture to enlarge. Source: Ladies Home Journal (December, 1912)

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

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Grandma got the De Luxe slippers in her favorite color. :)

slipper a hundred years ago

Source: Ladies Home Journal (December, 1912)

Nice gifts, good food, family. . . It sounds like end of a perfect Christmas day.



Christmas Tree Decorations A Hundred Years Ago

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

Tuesday, December 24, 1912:  Cleaned this morning. Trimmed the tree this evening and await the coming of tomorrow’s dawn impatience.

1912 Christmas treeLightweight glass balls on tinsel strands gives the effect.

Ladies Home Journal (December, 1911)

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

It’s almost Christmas!

What did the Muffly’s trimmed tree look like?

1912 Christmas treeThe butterflies are of spun glass in myriad colors and marking. The birds are lifelike celluloid models.

Christmas tree a hundred years agoThe tree of snow is the latest contribution to the science of Christmas festivities. The tree is bleached white, made fireproof, and chemically preserved so that it can be used year after year, thereby aiding the campaign against the devastation of our evergreens. The decorations of rose garlands is as unusual as the tree, and the crimson of the flowers forms a brilliant contrast to the dazzling whiteness.

Ladies Home Journal (December, 1911)

Who would have guessed that some people had reusable trees a hundred years ago!!

Christmas Songs and Carols A Hundred Years Ago

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

Sunday, December 8, 1912:  Didn’t go to Sunday School this morning, partly because I didn’t think it would be very good for me to go out today.


Source: Ladies Home Journal (December, 1911)

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

Sounds like Grandma still wasn’t feeling very well. Hope she gets better soon. Since she didn’t write much a hundred years ago today, I’ll share a list of winter and Christmas songs that was in an old Ladies Home Journal magazine.



  • Snow Man
  • When the Snow is on the Ground
  • Jack Frost
  • Tracks in the Snow
  • Snow Flakes
  • Coasting
  • Winter Jewels
  • Snowballs
  • Sleighing Song
  • Little White Feathers
  • Jacky Frost


  • Old Santa Claus
  • Once a Little Baby
  • Once Unto the Shepherds
  • In Bethlehem Stable
  • The First Christmas
  • Christmas Carol
  • A Christmas Song
  • Carol, Brother, Carol
  • Christmas Day in the Morning
  • Christmas Eve
  • O! Holy Night
  • Silent Night
  • Holy Night; Holy Child
  • Carol, Children, Carol
  • Martin Luther Christmas Carol
  • While Shepherds Watched
  • While Stars of Christmas Shine
  • The First Christmas Song
  • The First Christmas
  • A Christmas Carol
  • Santa Claus
  • Do You Believe in Santa Claus?
  • A Christmas Party
  • The Christmas Tree

Ladies Home Journal (December, 1913)

Whew, it’s astonishing how few of the songs I know. I would have guessed that Christmas carols hadn’t changed much across the years. Though—now that I’m looking more carefully at the list— I realize that some of the songs might be the same, just the names have changed.


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