Newspaper Headlines: Labor Day, 1912

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

Monday, September 2, 1912:  Had to go to school, even if it is labor day. We had this day off last year.

Cold isn’t much better. Have to blow my whistle almost all the time, which constant usage make it rather sore and pink.

Labor Day, September 2, 1912 Chicago Morning Tribune Article

Source: Chicago Morning Tribune (September 2, 1912)

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

It’s interesting that in 1911 the students didn’t have to go to school on Labor Day—but that in 1912 they did. Was Labor Day an important holiday in 1912?

A quick scan of newspaper headlines from September 2, 1912 shows that  in 1912 the nation was engaged in a debate over the role of labor and unions (as well as whether woman should be paid the same as men).

Representative Newspaper Headlines

Labor Day, September 2, 1912

Cathedral Packed for Labor Service: Mgr. Lavelle Points Out Socialism’s Weakness to Vast Throng of Union Men (New York Times)

Labor Day Parade: Large Squad of Police Detailed to Assist in Keeping Order-Line of March (Los Angeles Times)

Labor Will Parade Today, While City Lends Cheers: Predicted That 50,000 Persons Will Attend Celebration at Armory (Minneapolis Morning Tribune)

Minnesota State Fair to Open This Morning: Exposition Gates to be Thrown Wide to Northwest Visitors: Labor Program Planned (Minneapolis Morning Tribune)

Urges Pay Raise to Save Women: Bishop Samuel Fallows Advocates Putting Them on an Equal Basis with Men: Bar to Immorality (Chicago Daily Tribune)

Are Fireworks Old-Fashioned?

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

Thursday, July 4, 1912:  Such a magic sound it has to some, but to me it is about the same as other days. We got a glorious rain this afternoon. I can’t help but rejoice over the very thought of it. It’s cooler now for one thing.

I bet that people a hundred years ago would never have expected that “ancient” traditions like fireworks would still exist in 2012.

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

Poor Grandma–It sounds like an incredibly boring 4th.  Some places were livelier.

About 125 miles northeast of McEwenville,  New York City was holding a modern 4th of July celebration.

Here are some excerpts from the July 4, 1912 issue of the  New York Times:


Music, Parading, Speeches, and Electric Light to Banish Firecracker Riot

Over the Old Fort Block House at 5:30 o’clock this morning the new forty-eight-starred flag of this country will be raised and its raising will be the start of this city’s celebration of Independence Day. This celebration will be the 136th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia.

It will represent weeks of effort put forth by the Mayor’s Committee and by countless societies and organizations, all joined in a determined campaign to free the marking of this day from the ancient rites of fire and powder and its ancient toll of death and wounds.

Instead of the steady popping of firecrackers and deafening crash of the cannon cracker, there will be parading, music, dancing, and speechmaking.

The prediction last evening, as the final touches were put on the innumerable arrangements, pointed to the safest and sanest Fourth in a city where the Nation’s big day has been growing safer and saner every passing years.

For safety Acting Chief Guerin of the Fire Prevention Bureau reported that for the last week he and his men had been on the lookout for fireworks stored away for sale. Confiscation is the rule and some $3,000 worth of explosives have been so put out of harm’s way.

The weather man, after scanning the heavens and weighing the evidence with unusual care last evening announced his gloomy fear that this city and the surrounding country would experience thunderstorms this afternoon or evening.

Quite as much as any other part of the celebration, the elaborate illumination depends on the holding off of the rain. If all goes well many parts of the city will be radiant with fantastic light, for nearly a hundred thousand Japanese lanterns have been strung to the trees in the parks and these were supplied with current last evening to try them out. As the dim trees in each park, loaded with festoons and strung ropes of these lanterns would spring into radiance with the turning of the switch, a shrill chorus of delightful approval would go from hundreds of children. The current is the gift of the New York Edison Company for the celebration and besides this, it has given the lanterns.

City Hall and its square is to be more brilliantly lighted than any, 6,000 electric light bulbs being devoted to this purpose.

St. Patrick’s Day, 1912 and 2012

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

Sunday, March 17, 1912:  Today is St. Patrick’s Day. I had some green on this morning. It was so nice out today. Just like spring. I was going away this afternoon, but didn’t go after all.

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

Sometimes I’m surprised how similar some things are across the years.

The weather was  beautiful a hundred years ago–just like it is today.

Grandma wore green a hundred years ago– just like I’m wearing green today.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Valentine’s Day

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

Wednesday, February 14, 1912:  I didn’t get any valentines today, although they would have been accepted if I had. Our future teacher arrived at school this morning, but he isn’t going to commence until next Monday. Gee whiz, but he is tall. I wonder if I will like him, but I think I will.

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

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

Grandma sounds kind of sad that she didn’t get any valentines.  Though getting nothing was probably better than she deserved since she only sent ugly, vinegar valentines.

Is it worse to be ignored than to get a vinegar valentine?

Sending Ugly Valentines

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

Monday, February 12, 1912:  Got my valentines in preparation. They’re all ugly ones. I thought one was most too much to send as it was rather mean looking. But I got it ready, so it has to go.

DON’T sit up nights admiring yourself.

The best that can be said of you

Is that you might pass in a crowd.

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

What could the valentine have possibly said that was almost too bad to send?  And, who was Grandma sending it to? . . . . .a classmate?. . . her teacher? . . . her sister?

For more old valentines see these previous posts:

Bought Some Vinegar Valentines

Valentines: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Anonymous Comic Valentines

Bought Some Vinegar Valentines

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

Saturday, February 10, 1912:  I got some ugly valentines today. I had all the milking to do tonight and will have it for tomorrow morning. Our dear Ruthie is spending the time with Tweet.

Pride Goeth Before Fall

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

Tweet is the nickname of Helen Wesner. She was a friend of Grandma and her sister Ruth.

A hundred years ago people sometimes gave ugly valentines that were often called vinegar valentines. Who did Grandma plan to give them to?

To see more vinegar valentines see these posts from last year:

Valentines: The Good, the Bad, and the Horrid

Anonymous Comic Valentines

January Brings to Us a New Born Year!

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

Monday, January 1, 1912:  Not getting tired in the least of keeping a diary even if I do not travel or do anything as interesting. I will still continue to write down the happenings as the days go by, as I did last year. Understand this is not the beginning of a new diary, but simply a continuation of the old one, guaranteed to be full of numerous mistakes and blunders, much to the writer’s annoyance.


This is leap year and rightfully belongs to old maids and maidens, especially the neglected ones, like my snappy sister, etc.

January brings to us a new born year,

To do with as we will

So each worthy deed be done

And every glad and hopeful thought fulfilled.

New Year’s day for me had a rather doleful beginning, but brightened up as the day passed on. Carrie came over this afternoon and we went a skating or rather she did the skating and I the tumbling.  I was just experimenting, being the first time I really tried to skate. Maybe I’ll buy a pair of skates pretty soon, as I haven’t any of my own. But the learning, however, isn’t much fun.

Ruth and I went up to Oakes this evening. It is so grand these evenings. One I could most read by moonlight.

New Year Post Card, circa 1912

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

I’ve now been posting these diary entries for one year—and like Grandma I’m not getting tired in the least.  I enjoyed posting entries in 1911 and look forward to learning more about Grandma and her times during the upcoming year.



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