Need a Woman Over Ffity Feel Old?

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

Wednesday, October 22, 1914: << no entry>>

women over fifity

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

Another silent day. . . But I came across an editorial about women over fifty that resonated with me (probably because I’m a woman over fifty), and I thought you might also enjoy it. Here are some excerpts:

Need a Woman Over Fifty Feel Old?

An Editorial by Jane Addams

One of the most remarkable changes in the lives of women in this country has been the postponement of old age.

Chiefly because they had nothing else to do, our grandmothers, after their children had been reared and safely launched into homes of their own, expected to give their remaining years to a general oversight of the households of their sons and daughters. A vigorous woman, accustomed to the cares of a large household in which her word was law, when deprived of an absorbing occupation could not all at once reduce herself to a negligible quantity, and the traditional “mother-in-law” was quite as much the victim of circumstances as were the cherished family upon whom her unused energies were expended.

Happily there is another type of woman. The Woman’s Club movement has been a great factor in developing the powers of women who are over fifty years old. Many of them learned to write papers, to address audiences, to preside over meetings, to organize committees for the first time after they had passed that age. The women’s clubs also gave to thousands of women their first sense of responsibility in regard to public education and civic reform.

It was largely through the efforts of these club women that kindergarten, manual training, and domestic science were introduced in the public-school system of America.

These same elderly women who, in their youth, had been sheltered from any knowledge of crime and the ways of criminals, and who would have considered it most unladylike even to refer to a disreputable woman, were often responsible for securing matrons in the police stations, teachers in the jails, the establishment of juvenile courts and the abolition of vice districts.

One woman of sixty whom I know is most widely useful in many church activities, not only in the local circles of her denomination but also as the president of a State organization.

A woman over fifty years old is the executive head of a national organization which has for years urged and secured better conditions for working women and children, both through legislation and voluntary efforts. She has moved from one difficult piece of social organization to another until probably no one else in the Unites States is more conversant with the conditions of working women and children, and the laws which have been enacted on their behalf.

That weariness and dullness, which inhere in both domestic and social affairs when they are carried on by men alone, will no longer be a necessary attribute of public life when such gracious and gray-haired women become a part of it, and when new social movements, in which men as well as women are concerned, naturally utilize woman’s experience and ability.

Ladies Home Journal (October, 1914)

Before and After Houses

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

Sunday, October 18, 1914: << no entry>>

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

Since Grandma didn’t write anything a hundred years ago today, I thought that you might enjoy some before and after pictures of houses in the August, 1914 issue of Ladies Home Journal.

House 12Bright yellow, walls, a black roof and a bright green porch roof was the riotous color scheme of the house above.

House 11Very slight alteration produced this summer home. All the flimsy filigree work was removed and the second-story porch with dignified white columns was added. Paint of a lovely ivory tine was chosen for the exterior walls.

 

Home  8As originally build this house presented an exterior about as plain and homely as one could find.

Home 9The second picture, however, shows how successfully the present owner has transformed it –and at very little expense. The roof was carried down to form the porch roof of an outdoor living-room. Colonial yellow paint and vines gave the finishing touches.

 

House 7This house is not really ugly, but certainly it is unattractive.

House 8Removing the roof, porch, and bay-window left a good foundation for the new house. The sun room at the left and the porte-cochere at the right give a breadth which tends to overcome the high stilted look it previously had. Repointing the stone work and the new roof complete the transformation.

 

Royal Easy Chair Advertisement

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

Saturday, October 19, 1914:

Source: Ladies Home Journal (April, 1914)

Source: Ladies Home Journal (April, 1914)

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

Grandma did so much hard physical labor on the farm. Did she ever have time to sit down and put her feet up?

I hope that she had a Royal Easy Chair (though my gut feeling is that the Muffly’s didn’t own any easy chairs).

An aside: If you interested in reading my preliminary ideas, based on readers comments, about how to celebrate the end of Grandma’s diary in late December, there’s a new Friday Update on my author website, Sheryl Lazarus.com. Don’t worry if you don’t have time to look at this site–when it get’s closer to the end of the year, I’ll bring the ideas over to A Hundred Years Ago.

October, 1914 Kimball’s Dairy Farmer Magazine Cover

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

Friday, October 16, 1914: << no entry>>

Kimball's Dairy Farmer Magazine October 1, 1914

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

Since Grandma didn’t write anything a hundred-years-ago today, I thought you might enjoy seeing the cover of the October 1, 1914 issue of Kimball’s Dairy Farmer Magazine.

The orange cover design with the picture of a woman (with lipstick ?) and two cows doesn’t quite work for me—but it may have been considered progressive at the time.

Hundred-year-old Polka Instructions

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

Thursday, October 15, 1914: << no entry>>

Source: Ladies Home Journal (October, 1914)

Source: Ladies Home Journal (October, 1914)

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

There was a hint in a diary entry last summer that Grandma may have had a boyfriend—and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that she’s having lots of fun (and is too busy to write in the diary).

Maybe Grandma went dancing. Here are directions in the October, 1914 issue of Ladies Home Journal for the polka:

Before I explain the polka it might be well to tell why I think it should be revived and modernized—not to take the place of the other dances so popular now, but to add variety to all dance programs. We have at present a leaning toward things old-fashioned. This is most noticeable in the quaintness of the fashionable woman’s attire. In fact my wife is wearing at parties the dress you see in these photos.

1914-10-38 b

Possibly the most important excuse for a revival and modernization of the polka is because it is easy to learn and so enjoyable to dance. In the polka you hop rather than slide, which exactly the opposite to the usual steps in our other present-day dances. The hop, if not exaggerated, is most graceful. The counting for this dance is 1 -2 – 2 – hop, 1 – 2- 3 – hop. You do the hop after the third step. . .

1914-10-38 c

The Canada Goose in a Hundred-Year-Old Book

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

Wednesday, October 14, 1914: << no entry>>

Source: The Bird Book (1914)

Source: The Bird Book (1914)

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

Fall is here. Some things haven’t changed much across the years. Did Grandma see any Canadian Geese flying South a hundred years ago today?

Here’s what a book published in 1914 had to say about the Canada Goose.

Canada Goose

Range: The whole of North America, breeding from northern United States northward, and wintering in the southern parts of the United States. Its familiar “honk” and V-shaped formation in which the flocks migrate is always an object of interest to everyone.

The Bird Book  by Chester A. Reed

Hundred-Year-Old Swans Down Cake Flour Advertisement

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

Tuesday, October 13, 1914:  <<no entry>>

Source: Ladies Home Journal (April, 1914)

Source: Ladies Home Journal (April, 1914)

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

Since Grandma didn’t write anything a hundred years ago today, I thought that you might enjoy this 1914 advertisement for Swans Down Cake flour.

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