Hundred-Year-Old Advice Column: “Heart Problems” by Aunt Harriet

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

Monday, July 28, 1913 – Thursday, July 31, 1913:  Nothing very much doing for these days. It’s so terrible hot and I have a hard time of it just doing nothing. I’d hate to go anyplace such weather as this is.

DSC02846

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

This is the third of four days that Grandma lumped together into one diary entry.

Since Grandma didn’t write anything specific for this date, I’m going to share some more hundred-year-old advice from an advice columnist called “Aunt Harriet.”  It was published in Farm Journal.

Heart Problems

[Note: Aunt Harriet didn’t include the original questions, just the answers.]

“Whistling Girl”: No, I do not think it improper for a young, healthy and happy girl to whistle around her own home; but it would be unwise for her to walk along the street or public highway doing so.

“Dismay”: It is not necessary to have s written agreement concerning the breaking of an engagement. You can ask the young woman to release you from a promise which you feel has been a mistake and say that you will return her gifts and her letters, and she will no doubt understand that you expect her to do the same with yours. Make your request in language as polite as you can command, and consider well before you enter into another engagement.

L.T.W.: It is rather difficult to make advance now that the young man has left your neighborhood. If you had any special reason for refusing his attentions, and now find that you were mistaken, you might write and tell him so. On the other hand, if it was just a whim and you have gotten over it, you might write and explain. You could write to him about like this: “Dear friend John: In thinking over the changes in our neighborhood, I am reminded of my lack of appreciation of your attention to me. I sincerely regret my shortcomings in this direction.

Farm Journal (May, 1913)

You may also enjoy these previous posts that contain advice from Aunt Harriet:

What Did Wedding and Engagement Rings Cost A Hundred Years Ago?

How Much Should a Man Spend on a Date? Hundred-Year-Old Advice

Girls and Women Fishing a Hundred Years Ago

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

Monday, July 28, 1913 – Thursday, July 31, 1913:  Nothing very much doing for these days. It’s so terrible hot and I have a hard time of it just doing nothing. I’d hate to go anyplace such weather as this is.

women fishing a hundred years agoPicture caption: Who said girls couldn’t—and shouldn’t—fish down on the old dock or under the sycamore? Who gave the outdoors to their brothers anyway?  Source: Good Housekeeping (July, 1913)

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

There’s no new diary entry to post  today since Grandma apparently didn’t write anything for four days—and then summarized what she was thinking  at the end of the time period.

But, I wonder if Grandma ever did any fun activities on hot summer days. Did she ever go fishing, either in the creek that flowed along the edge of the farm or in the West Branch of the Susquehanna River which flows through the nearby town of Watsontown?

The text of the short article beside the picture seems a bit odd to me, but it probably made perfect sense a hundred years ago. It says:

Play!

There’s no doubt whatever about it, men have all the best of it in this world, and women have to put up with ‘most anything. Why, just take that one example of the way the men go rooting in the back of the closet on the top floor after that old fishing-rod, the one with the black thread all wrapped about the part of it that split once when—everyone in the neighborhood knows it was five pounds. And there’s the fuss they make over the disgraceful old clothes that are fit for only the rag-bag, and goodness knows hardly that, , and the disreputable hat that you were planning to give to Mandy Brown’s husband the very next time he came after the ashes, and—

Good Housekeeping (July, 1913)

Warrior Run Creek near the Muffly farm

Warrior Run Creek near the Muffly farm

Recent photo of the bridge at Watsontown. This is the second bridge that was built a this site. It's hard to believe that a hundred years ago the first bridge had not yet been built.

Recent photo of the river at Watsontown.

1913 Philadelphia School for Nurses Advertisement

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

Thursday, July 17, 1913: Nothing doing.

Source: Ladies Home Journal (July, 1913)

Source: Ladies Home Journal (July, 1913)

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

Grandma was feeling down about something during mid-July, 1913. She graduated from high school the previous spring. Yesterday, I wondered if she was sad because she’d been unsuccessful in getting a teaching job for the upcoming school year.

There weren’t many careers open to women back then. Nursing was another field that was open to women. Did Grandma ever consider becoming a nurse?

Lydia E. Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound Advertisement

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

Tuesday,  July 15, 1913:  Nothing doing.

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

I bet that Grandma still felt mopey when she wrote this entry. The previous day she wrote that she “didn’t feel very good today, and did feel very miserable. I’m not really sick, but sick at heart over something. “

Lydia E. Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound was a popular tonic for female problems a hundred years ago.

Source: Milton Evening Standard (June 3, 1913)

Source: Milton Evening Standard (June 3, 1913)

GIRLS WHO ARE PALE, NERVOUS

May Find Help in Mrs. Elston’s Letter About Her Daughter.

Burlington, Iowa—“Lydia E. Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound has cured my daughter of weakness. She was troubled almost a year with it and complained of backache, so that I thought she would be an invalid. She was entirely run down, pale, nervous and without appetite. I was very much discouraged but heard of Lydia E. Pinkham’s  Vegetable Compound through friends and now I praise it because it has cured my daughter.” –Mr.s F.M. Elston, R.D. No. 3, Burlington, Iowa

Case of Another Girl

Scanlon, Minn.  – “I used to be bothered with nervous spells, and would cry if anyone was cross with me. I got awful weak spells especially in the morning, and my appetite was poor. I also had a tender place in my right side which pained when I did any hard work. I took Lydia E. Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound and my symptoms all changed, and I am certainly feeling fine. I recommend it to every suffering woman or girl. You may use this letter for the good of others.” — Miss Ella Olson, 171 5th St., Virginia, Minn.

Young Girls, Heed This Advice

Girls who are troubled with painful or irregular periods, backache, headache, dragging-down sensations, fainting spells or indigestion, should immediately seek restoration to health by taking Lydia E. Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound.

Thunderstorms on a Cool Day

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

Sunday, July 13, 1913:  Went to Sunday School this afternoon. Had to wait awhile after church before starting home because it was raining. Just got home in time before it commenced again. I’m glad I didn’t get another drenching. Got a good one yesterday so that was enough.

weather.williamsport.7.1913

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

Yeah—Grandma, I’m glad you didn’t get soaked. Sometimes things work out just right.

According to the historic weather records for Williamsport Pennsylvania—a town about 20 miles from McEwensville—July 13, 1913 was the coolest day so far in the month.  The high was only 72 degrees and the low was 55. And, there was a thunderstorm in the afternoon with 0.08 inches of precipitation.

The weather records also show (just as Grandma wrote) that there was a thunderstorm the previous day.  I’m surprised she didn’t mention the rain in the preceding diary entry. Instead, on July 12, 1913, she wrote about helping load wheat. Did the storm roll in while she was loading wheat?—and did it cause any damage to the crop they were harvesting?

If you’d like to find historic weather records for many towns in the US, see this previous post:

How to Find the Temperature for Any Date in Any City in the US

Little Boy Ran Away

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

Friday, July 11, 1913:  Went to Watsontown this morning. We were surprised today, when it was discovered that the little boy had run off.

Road near the Muffly farm.  How farm did the boy need to walk to get home?

Road near the Muffly farm. How far did the boy need to walk to get home?

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

Three days prior to this entry Grandma wrote:

Pa picked up a little boy who is going to work for him. I have to room with Ruth now.

I guess that the Muffly family again had to do all of the farm work. But my heart aches for the little boy. Why did he run away? . . . Was he homesick?  . . . . Was he scared? . .  .Was the work too hard? . . .

A Baseball Rivalry

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

Wednesday, July 9, 1913:  Not so very much doing today.

milton.standard.6.26.13.baseball.c

Source: Milton Evening Standard (June 26, 1913)

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

Sounds like Grandma had another boring day on the farm.  Did she ever attend baseball games or other sporting events in the nearby towns?

A hundred years ago, the headlines of the local newspapers, The Milton Evening Standard, focused on the rivalry between two local baseball teams.

LARGE CROWD SEES FRONT ST. WALLOP BROADWAY BUNGLERS

Three hundred persons witnessed the game between Front Street and Broadway last night, and all agreed that the exhibition was in many senses, marvelous beyond description.

Spectators gained from five to ten pounds each in laughing, and the players, besides paying about $10 for errors, lost twenty pounds apiece in perspiration and nervous tension. Front Street won the battle, but had the game continued indefinitely Broadway might have nosed out.

milton.standard.6.26.13.baseball.a

Barrett, champion strikeout artist, fooled the critics by plugging the ball no less than three times and he also crossed the plate twice.

Milton.standard.6.26.13.baseball.b

F. Follmer’s ineffectual attempts to hit the ball featured the game. At one time he was given five strikes, but never managed to connect with the sphere. The Broadway crowd today assert, of course, that the umpire robbed them of the game, and are now busy inventing excuses to apply to their horrible exhibition. . .

Milton Evening Standard (June 26, 1913)

 

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