Lincoln’s Birthday

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

Wednesday, February 12, 1913:  Whose birthday is it? I heard that question asked today. Knew it before anyway. Was weighed today. Not very pleasant news. It was a pound more than last time, but I owe some of that to heavier clothing.

At last we have our subject to write upon. Titled the American Revolution. Wonder if I could get the gold piece. At least I intent to try and do my best.

Source: Wikipedia
Source: Wikipedia

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

A hundred years ago two presidents’ birthdays were celebrated in February. Lincoln’s birthday was on February 12 and Washington’s on February 22– though Lincoln’s Birthday never was an official federal holiday.

In 1971, the observance of Washington’s Birthday was shifted to the third Monday in February as part of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. The Act did not change the name of the holiday, but it is now commonly referred to as Presidents Day in honor of both presidents.


On January 28, 1913 Grandma wrote:

Our teacher made such a wonderful proposition today. It was made to our class. The one who writes the best essay on a given subject is to receive a two dollar and a half gold piece.

At the time I’d assumed she just failed to mention the essay topic, but apparently it took the teacher half a month to come up with the topic.  . . .strange. . .


An aside—Whenever I gain a pound, I also owe some of the gain to heavier clothing. 🙂

15 thoughts on “Lincoln’s Birthday

    1. Sometimes the the diary entries seem so very different from my experiences; other times–like when Grandma worried about her weight– they seem like they could have been written yesterday.

    1. I think that people have been worried about weight for a long time. Grandma mentioned her weight several times in the diary–and there are articles in the hundred-year-old issues of Ladies Home Journal about dieting.

  1. While I had visited Monticello and knew a lot about Jefferson, I hadn’t really known what kind of man Lincoln was until I saw the movie with Daniel Day Lewis. Seemed like the poor guy was living in the wrong era. His ideas and beliefs were so much more progressive than a lot of his contemporaries. I admired his will to change the world and go against the grain to do what was right.

  2. Weird, for some reason I thought girls back then wouldn’t worry about their weight as much. Despite the great time-gap, Helena was still a lot like today’s teens…or should I say, today’s teens are a lot like teens in 1913.

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