Hundred-Year-Old Newspaper Article: “Woman Masqueraded As Man” for 60 Years

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

Wednesday, April 29, 1914: <<no entry>>

Source; Milton Evening Standard (April 2, 1914)
Source; Milton Evening Standard (April 2, 1914)

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

A hundred years ago today was one of the few days when Grandma didn’t write a diary entry. Since she didn’t write anything, I thought that I’d share a hundred-year-old article I recently came across when I was browsing through old microfilms of the Milton Evening Standard.

24 thoughts on “Hundred-Year-Old Newspaper Article: “Woman Masqueraded As Man” for 60 Years

  1. Wow! How sad that, after a life where she served and lived apparently a productive life, they dishonored her by locking her away in an asylum at 73. This breaks my heart. I’m curious – the article is dated April 1 but the citation says it was from April 2nd …

    1. The article appeared in the April 2, 1914 issue of the Milton Evening Standard. The paper used many stories that they got from a “wire service.” These stories originated in other cities–and the dateline is the date of the original story.

      I also wondered about the date of the original story, but it appears to be a legitimate story.

  2. How sad she was sent to an asylum… but a female didn’t need to be all that “different” (in a variety of ways) back then to be carted off to the asylum… 😦

  3. Those kind of stories fascinate me. A book just came out about a woman who posed as a man during the Revolutionary War. It’s called “Revolutionary,” by Alex Myers.

  4. Wow! What a sad story. She wasn’t insane. She served her country in a war and look what she got.

    btw…Quincy IL is not far from where I grew up. My great grandfather served in Company B – 91st infantry not far north of Quincy.

  5. There are many tales of women serving in the Confederacy as well. What is so upsetting about this story is her ultimate destination. You know it must have been a horrible place and such a terrible ending to her story.

  6. You have to wonder if, in today’s world, she would’ve had a gender change operation or was it simply that she was happy enough as a woman but craved the freedom a man could have.

  7. I suspect that she dressed as a boy for safety when she stowed away and, once discovered, was drawn in to “the system” and could find no way to escape back to her real identity. Imagine the difficulty of living amongst soldiers on a battlefield and the fear of being discovered. It’s a poignant story.

  8. That was interesting and yes sad, when we think of all the woman do today in our armed forces she was a pioneer of her day. There were many women who served in the Revolutionary War as well, but it seemed during that time they did not have to disguise themselves, I always thought that was interesting.
    I wonder what Helena was up to that she did not write in her journal, hope she is not sick.

  9. Oh how unjust. Had to live life in secret, endure the brutalness of war and then be sent to what I’m certain was a place of horror back then. Poor, poor thing.

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