16-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Sunday, July 23, 1911: Ruth and I were alone here part of today, the rest of the family having gone a visiting. I went to Sunday school this morning. Miss Carrie came over this afternoon. She was telling us about some of her beaus. I’m so sorry for myself, and so very jealous.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
Some things never change–I can almost feel Grandma’s pain and jealousy that her friend Carrie has boyfriends and she doesn’t.
I’ve wondered what people did on dates a hundred years ago. A report by published by the City of Chicago in 1911 gave me a few clues about the youth in that city. I know that central Pennsylvania was very different from Chicago, but I still found the worries of the 1911 Chicago commission interesting:
Public Parks. During the summer time young girls frequent these places and sit around on the grass with boys, or go with them in the dark corners and among the shrubbery at night. . . The Commission recommends the removal of seats from the deep shadows.
Amusement Parks. Incidents have come to their notice showing a laxity of supervision and of the moral dangers surrounding young girls who frequent these places for amusement.
Confectionary and Ice Cream Parlors. A city ordinance declares that it shall be unlawful for any person owning, conducting or managing candy and fruit stores or ice cream parlors to allow any male under the age of twenty-one years or any female under the age of eighteen to remain in such places between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. unless accompanied by one or both parents. . . The following typical instances came under the observation of investigators of the Commission during its study:
- October 10th. Ice cream soda and confectionary. Several girls and boys were seen in this place at 10:35 p.m. Two of the girls appeared to be 16, and 3, 18 years of age; the boys 14 to 20. One of the younger boys asked a girl to hurry up, and they would go to the hallway where they could talk by themselves.
- October 11th. Ice cream parlor. Eight girls and 5 boys were seen in this place at 10:50 p.m. The youngest of the girls appeared to be 16 and the youngest boy 17. Three girls who appeared to be 16 were acting very giddy.
The Social Evils in Chicago (1911)