Food Inflation Rate: A Hundred Years Ago and Now

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

Sunday, April 14, 1912: Went to Sunday School this morning. Miss Carrie came over this afternoon. We went for a walk which was not so very long nor yet so very short. We had quite a time getting home, as we stopped to talk much of the way.

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

Carrie refers to Grandma’s friend Carrie Stout. She lived on a nearby farm.  Who knows what the teens talked about—but I can picture earnest discussion interspersed with giggling.

They probably weren’t worried about food prices—but the local paper, The Milton Evening Standard, had an article about inflation in April 1912.

Milton Evening Standard (April 8, 1912)



For 1911 They Were Two Per Cent.

Higher Then Previous Years

Wholesale prices of food products increased two per cent  during 1911 over the previous year, although wholesale prices generally of 257 articles, declined 1.7 per cent. An investigation of the Bureau of Labor into wholesale prices, results of which were announced Thursday, disclosed these facts. . .

Some things never change. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the wholesale (producer) food price increased 2.3% from March 2011 to March 2012.

6 thoughts on “Food Inflation Rate: A Hundred Years Ago and Now

  1. And…they weren’t texting other friends while they were with each other! Aww…how nice it used to be…even 50 years ago! Yes…earnest discussion and giggling! Those were the days!

  2. Hi Sheryl. I love seeing my Great-Aunt’s references to prices in her diaries. She paid 4.00 for a hair perm in 1957! I love the way you combine the diary entry, your comment on the diary entry, and a snippet of news from the day!!! Jane

    1. It’s awesome that your great-aunt included prices in her diary. I can remember getting perms when I was a child. It’s amazing how both prices and styles have changed.

  3. When you mention “earnest discussion interspersed with giggling” it made me think of all the endless giggling that went on when my daughter and my neice got together while in their teens… The giggling would continue way into the night. 🙂

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