15-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Sunday, March 26, 1911: Went to Sunday school and church this afternoon. Mother is busy reading a novel, and I’m making this entry in her room, because I can’t have the light. Ruthie has the honorable James B. Oakes down in the sitting room, but she had to go after him or he wouldn’t have been here. Papa is down there also, so nothing will happen. Tee hee, poor me.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
Grandma’s father apparently believed that it is appropriate to stay in the living room when a beau was visiting one of his daughters—though parents in 1911 did not always chaperone. The May 15, 1911 issue of the Ladies Home Journal had a question and answer on this topic.
Unchaperoned While Entertaining a Caller
When a young man calls upon my daughter in the evening is it necessary for me to remain in the room during his call? I have been in this country only a short time.
In this country young girls are allowed far more liberty than in France. The fact that your daughter is trusted to act as she should makes her worthy of the trust in the majority of cases. I should suggest that you receive your daughter’s guest with her, and, after remaining for a few minutes, leave the young people to enjoy each other’s society. If this is not convenient go into the room during the call and leave again after exchanging a few words with the young man. The idea to be conveyed is that a young’ girl’s parents take an interest in all that concerns her. A mother, therefore, is expected to wish to become acquainted with all those in whose society her daughter is thrown.