1913 Hair Extender (Switch) Advertisement

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

Tuesday, October 21, 1913: It’s been so rainy and dreary this week that I begin to feel awful grouchy. I certainly am under the weather these days. Any way October never was a favorite month of mine. I don’t have much to write about for her.

Source: Ladies Home Journal (October, 1013)

Source: Ladies Home Journal (October, 1013)

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

Did Grandma read Ladies Home Journal to while away the time on cold, rainy days?

And, now that the corn harvest was finished—and Grandma had been paid for helping husk corn—did she dream of using her money to improve her looks? . . . Maybe she wanted some of the hair switches advertised in the October, 1913 issue of Ladies Home Journal.

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1913 China-Inspired Dresses

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

Thursday, February 6, 1913: About the same as yesterday.

Source: Ladies Home Journal (May, 1913)

Source: Ladies Home Journal (June, 1913)

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

Since Grandma didn’t write much a hundred years ago today, I’m going to go off on another tangent.

Today our world is so global—and we think that people lived very geographically isolated lives a hundred years ago.  Well, not exactly—

People considered themselves to be very cosmopolitan. As I mentioned several days ago, students studied current events in China in school—and according to the June, 1913 issue of Ladies Home Journal:

Interest in the political and civic activities of the new China, which is more or less world-wide at this time, let the designers of the garments on this page to look at that country for inspirations for clothes that would be unique and new and yet fit in with present-day modes and the needs and environments of American women.

China has always been known as possessing a wonderful color sense, and the exquisite beauty of its hand embroidery is the marvel of every needlewoman.

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These facts are well known, but one might readily question the possibility of finding in the apparel of the Chinese lines that could be successfully modernized, yet that this has been done is charmingly and most convincingly shown by these attractive and absolutely wearable garments.

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1912 Slipper Advertisement

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

Friday, December 20, 1912: Ruth came home this afternoon. Wonder if she has a fine and dandy present for me.

slipper a hundred years ago

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

Ruth had been in Sunbury since the 16th. I think that she was attending a teachers’ training institute over winter break. What Christmas present did she buy for Grandma? Maybe Ruth bought Grandma some slippers.  They would have been a fine and dandy present.

slipper a hundred years ago

1912 slipper

children's slippers a hundred years agoSource: An advertisement by the Daniel Green Felt Shoe Company in the December, 1912 issue of Ladies Home Journal

Old-fashioned Crocheted Bags

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

Saturday, December 7, 1912:  Am still ailing. Glad tis Saturday, so I don’t have to miss school.

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

It’s no fun to be sick! I often do handwork or crafts when I don’t feel well. I wonder if Grandma was feeling good enough to make any Christmas presents.

The November, 1912 issue of Ladies Home Journal showed some awesome crocheted bags that she might have been able to make. DSC06806.a

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100-Year-Old Halloween Costumes

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

Thursday, October 31, 1912:  And this is Halloween. What a pity it is that I’m not out having a good time, and I’ve never had that pleasure either.

Witch (Source: Ladies Home Journal, July, 1912)

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

Poor Grandma—It’s too bad that she missed all the fun. I’d be bummed, too.

Here’s what was happening in nearby Milton on Halloween, 1912:

HALLOWEEN PARTIES AND MASQUERADERS MADE NIGHT GAY

Young Folks and Old Enjoyed Selves in Various Ways

Streets Were Filled with Merrymakers

Milton was the scene of high carnival last night. Chattering and laughing, it was a merry throng that wandered up and down the length of Broadway and Front last night for hours attired in costumes that represented every character and nation under the sun, and in some costumes that didn’t represent anything in particular. . .

Milton Evening Standard (November 1, 1912)

Recent photo of Broadway and Front Streets, Milton The street is generally very quiet now. Imagine what it was like a hundred years ago with masqueraders parading through the downtown.

1912 Dresses That Were Worn with Gloves

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

Tuesday, July 10, 1912:  Went to Milton this morning to have my teeth filled, and was so fortunate as to only have three cavities. Also did some shopping besides. Got a pair of white silk gloves.

Dress, Ladies Home Journal, March 1912

Source of photos: Ladies Home Journal (March, 1912)

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

Why did Grandma need white silk gloves? She may have worn gloves to Sunday School, but it seems like a somewhat unusual purchase in the middle of the summer. Maybe there was an upcoming special event where she needed to wear gloves.

A Trip to the Dentist

Three cavities!—but Grandma seemed pleased to only have three. Grandma had gotten some teeth filled almost exactly a year prior to this date—on July 6, 1911 she wrote that she’d gotten several teeth filled. People must have had more cavities in the days before fluoride.

A Mystery Partially Solved

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

Saturday, April 27, 1912:  Yessir, I really went to Milton this morning. Nor did I forget to take my Ma along.  After a trying time I got a hat that I thought would do. It is trimmed in light brown ribbon and red roses. I got a white dress, a pair of tans and some other gigger-mer-rows.

Amazingly, one of the drawings featured in an article on hats in the June, 1911 issue of Ladies Home Journal was a hat with roses and a brown ribbon. Maybe that was just a popular style a hundred years ago.

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

We finally have at least a partial answer to what Grandma was talking about in several recent diary entries—Grandma needed to go hat shopping.

The past Sunday Grandma wrote that she wished she had her new hat; and, the previous day she’d written that she hoped it won’t be raining the next day because “the hat question had become a serious problem.”

My guess is that “a pair of tans” refers to stockings. I think that gigger-mer-rows is archaic slang for small items.

Many things that seem important a hundred years later are only mentioned in passing in the diary (or not mentioned at all). Yet something that seems very minor—buying a hat—was discussed day after day.

Maybe teens haven’t changed–then and now they want to have nice outfits and look good.

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