A Hundred Years Ago Chicago Schools Had a Female Superintendent!

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

Monday, July 6, 1914:  Nothing doing

Ella Flagg YoungPhoto caption: Probably the most distinguished and influential superintendent of schools in this country, and especially revered in the West—Mrs. Ella Flagg Young, pictured in the electric runabout in which she goes from school to school. Married teachers are not discriminated against in Chicago, and the records in Mrs. Young’s office show that their efficiency marks are as high as those of unmarried teachers. (Source: Good Housekeeping. January, 1914)

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

Since Grandma didn’t write much a hundred years ago today, I thought you might enjoy this photo and caption that I found in an 1914 issue of Good Housekeeping.

Until I saw it I didn’t know that there were any female school superintendents back then—though I’m appalled that Chicago Schools considered it necessary to analyze whether married teachers were as efficient as unmarried ones. Thank goodness it turned out that they were.

(An aside: I wonder how they measured teacher effectiveness back then. Hmm. . . . maybe I’ll have to research that for a future post.)

Feather Imports Banned

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

Sunday, July 5, 1914:  Our new preacher took up his charge today. Am glad that one is secured at last.

Source: Ladies Home Journal (March, 1914)

Source: Ladies Home Journal (March, 1914)

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

The McEwensville Baptist Church had a few difficult months. It hadn’t had a minister since January—and it must be have been a relief to finally have a new pastor.

Did Grandma wear a hat to church? . . . with feathers? Did she know that some bird species were endangered because of the demand for feathers?

Our Girls’ Hats

The new feather law prohibits the importation into this country of feathers of wild birds, and it is being rigidly enforced.

We hope that our girls, everywhere, will realize what it means to wear the plumage of song-birds in their hats. Beautiful and becoming hats can now be made without the sacrifice of our feathered friends.

The appalling destruction of birds for milady’s hat is proved by figures from the last six feather sales in London this year: Crowned pigeons, 21,318; macaw wings, 5,794 pairs; quills of the white crane, 20715; hummingbirds, 4112; birds of paradise, 17,711; Of the kingfisher, one of the birds of bright plumage to be found on the English and Irish lakes, the skins of no less than 215,500 were on sale.

Isn’t that a terrible arraignment against the vanity of women who adorn themselves with the plumage of the birds?

Farm Journal (June, 1914)

Source: Ladies Home Journal (March, 1913)

Source: Ladies Home Journal (March, 1913)

A Quiet July 4th

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

Saturday, July 4, 1914:  And quite a fourth it was. Saw not a single flash of even one firecracker.

Old 4th of July Postcard (circa 1914)

Old 4th of July Postcard (circa 1914)

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

Grandma’s July 4th celebrations seemed hit or miss, and very low key. The previous year, on July 4, 1913, Grandma wrote:

Wasn’t much celebrating done at this house today. I saw a balloon go up or rather I saw it after it had gone up. Saw a few fireworks this evening, but that was at a distance.

I can remember going out on the hill behind the barn when I was a child on the 4th to look for fireworks in the distance. Maybe Grandma’s family also went to a nearby hill and hoped to see fireworks from nearby towns in the distance.

Had Fun Out in the Hay Field

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

Friday, July 3, 1914:  Had a jolly good time out in the hay field. You see if you have to work, you might just as well make a good time of it.

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

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

Grandma—

More details, please. It’s hot, hard work out in the hay field. It’s awesome that you had fun, but how did you make it fun? . . . Were you teasing and joking with other workers? . . . Who else was helping make hay? . . .

Photo source: Farm Journal (July, 1914)

Photo source: Farm Journal (July, 1914)

Trotted Up to Town

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

Thursday, July 2, 1914: Ruth and I trotted up to town this evening. Didn’t want to go very bad, but Sis insisted.

McEwensville

McEwensville

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

Hey Grandma —

Did you have fun? What did you and your sister Ruth do?

(I apologize if “Hey” is just too informal a salutation to use with my grandmother, but I think of you as the teen who wrote this diary—and somehow hey seemed just right in conjunction with my questions.)

A Boring Day in a Wonderful Month

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

Wednesday, July 1, 1914:

July has come to us once more.

Bright with days of the summer time.

Laden with joys that we all may find.

Filled to the brim and running o’er.

It’s a sad way to begin a month, if you’ve forgotten all the things you did. Guess I didn’t do much for the day by the sound of the entry.DSC02847

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

The poem and the rest of the diary entry seem so diametrically opposed. Even though the month began slowly, maybe Grandma was hopeful that the reminder of the month would be busy, fun-filled, and generally awesome.

  • “sad way to begin a month” vs. “bright with days”
  • “forgotten” vs. “laden with joys”
  • “didn’t do much” vs. “filled to the brim and running o’er”

Monthly Poem

For more information about the poems that Grandma included on the first day of each month, see this previous post:

Monthly Poem in Diary

June Flew By

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

Tuesday, June 30, 1914: It seems to me that the month of June comes and goes like a streak. The day passed like other days. Quite a few of them are alike.

DSC04324

summer

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

Grandma—

I agree! June has come and gone like a streak. (Why can’t January come and go like a streak? It always seems to go on and on and on?)

DSC07035

winter

 

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