Does Handwriting Provide a Window Into Emotional State?

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

Saturday, March 28, 1914:  Sad and gloomy like the weather.

diary-3-28-14

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

I don’t know anything about handwriting analysis. Was Grandma’s handwriting different on a day when she was sad and gloomy, than on a day when she was happy and excited?

Vanbraman wrote comments several times wondering if Grandma’s handwriting provided an indication of her emotional state. For example on February 22 he asked:

Could you tell if she was excited by her handwriting? I know that some people show their emotion in how they write.

Here’s what she wrote that day.

diary-2-22-14

Visited a Friend

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

Friday, March 27, 1914:  Called on Carrie this afternoon.

The Stout house once was just a little to the right of where the road ends.

The Stout house once was just a little to the right of where the road ends.

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

Carrie Stout was a friend of Grandma’s who lived on a nearby farm—but I can’t really show you where it was.

In the late 1960s, Interstate 180 was built through the area. The farm where the Stout’s once lived was divided into two, and the house was in the shadow of the highway. A few years later the house burned—so nothing is the same as it was in Grandma’s day.

Many days I’m surprised how little has changed over the past hundred years—but other times, like today, everything has changed and it’s difficult for me to even get my bearings.

Doctor Not at Home

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

Thursday, March 26, 1914:  Walked to Watsontown this afternoon with the expectation of having my nose doctored, but the doctor wasn’t at home.

Watsontown

Watsontown

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

Hmm. . . what was the problem? . . . stuffy nose? . . .sinus infection? . . . something else?
—-
This diary entry brings back memories of similar experiences I had when I was a child. I can remember visiting two Watsontown doctors—Dr. Persing and Dr. Yannaconne—when I had a cold or other minor ailment.

Both had offices in their homes. No appointment needed—just stop by during office hours and wait your turn. And, the medicines or salves they gave me always cured whatever ailed me. . . .

Getting Eggs and Butter in the Mail

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

Wednesday, March 25, 1914:  Nothing to write.

Source: Milton Evening Standard (March 31, 1914)

Source: Milton Evening Standard (March 31, 1914)

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

Since Grandma didn’t write much a hundred years ago today, I’ll share an article from a central Pennsylvania newspaper, the Milton Evening Standard.

The nation was moving rapidly into the modern era—people could order butter, eggs and other farm produce directly from farmers, and the US Postal Service would deliver it a few days later.

I can’t imagine getting my groceries in the mail today. Wonder what happened. . .

1914 Waists (Blouses)

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

Tuesday, March 24, 1914:  Finished my waist today. Got a birthday present. It came a couple of days behind time, but really doesn’t make much difference.

Source: Ladies Home Journal (July, 1914)

Source: Ladies Home Journal (July, 1914)

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

We now know that Grandma was making a waist when she wrote the previous day:

Got a streak of sewing today. . .

Waists is an old-fashioned term for tailored blouses or shirts. They were also called shirtwaists.

1914-07-58-c

1914-07-58.a

Regained 3 Pounds

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

Monday, March 23, 1914:  Got a streak of sewing today. I get the streaks quite often in many variations. Another one is to get rid of some of my superfluous fat. 140 pounds (January) is entirely too much for a girl of my age. I don’t weigh that now, since I lost six and gained about three. Intend to take advantage of the other three and fight for dear life.

bathroom scale

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

Grandma lost 6 pounds after her tonsillectomy.  They were removed on March 11, and two days later she wrote:

Weighed myself this morning. I had lost six pounds. My tummy is flat you can bet. Ate solid food for supper.

March 13, 1914

My memory is that Grandma was fairly short when she was an older woman—maybe 5 feet, 1 or 2 inches. She probably lost can inch or so as she aged, but I don’t think that she ever was over 5 foot 3 inches max.

Grandma—

You can do it. Hang onto those three pounds. 137 pounds sounds a little heavy—and you don’t want to regain any more.

Allowed to Go to Sunday School

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

Sunday, March 22, 1914:  Went to Sunday School this morning without being told to stay at home.

DSC02272

Road Grandma would have walked down as she approached McEwensville. At the stop sign she would have turned right to get to the Baptist Church.

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

Hmm. . . why was Grandma surprised that she was allowed to go to Sunday School?

I think there’s a guy Grandma likes who goes to her church—but I don’ think that her parents are restricting her activities though maybe she thought that she might be grounded for staying out until 2:30 a.m. on the Friday night before she wrote this entry.

Grandma’s missed very few weeks since she began keeping the diary. She didn’t go to Sunday School the previous week—but I’d assumed that her father won’t let her go because she’d had a tonsillectomy five days prior to that entry:

Was so put out this morning. Pa aid I wasn’t to go to Sunday School. I was anticipating some of the kind. I stayed at home and took a physic. Boo hoo. . .

March 15, 1914

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