Losing Weight as Summer Advances

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

Monday, July 27, 1914: I just finished writing several letters. So you see I am in the mood for writing this evening. A regular down pour of rain drenched the earth this afternoon. Am glad of it, for I realized how deep the dust was, when I went off on an errand of Pa’s this morning. I took the nearest cut and went across the field. This involved climbing fences or crawling through them as the case happened to be. I chose the latter, when I found a place large enough to admit my ponderous body. I still cling to the idea that I am big and fat, but nevertheless I am losing weight as the summer advances, so you see, the time may come, when I will be reduced to normal weight.

The people here have gone to bed, so I will shut up for awhile.

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Source: Wikimedia Commons

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


How much you weigh? It can’t be very much. What is a “normal weight” for your height?

On March 23, 1914, you wrote:

Got a streak of sewing today. I get the streaks quite often in many variations. Another one is to get rid of some of my superfluous fat. 140 pounds (January) is entirely too much for a girl of my age. I don’t weigh that now, since I lost six and gained about three. Intend to take advantage of the other three and fight for dear life.

And, on March 29, 1914 you wrote:

. . . Am rather tired of dieting by this time. Have lost ten pounds.


My memory is that Grandma was quite short—probably 5 feet 1 inch . . . maybe 5 feet 2 inches. She probably was a little taller than that as a teen, but she definitely was not very tall.

14 thoughts on “Losing Weight as Summer Advances

  1. They say that a 5′ tall woman should weigh 100 lbs and that for each additional inch you add 5 lbs. So 5’2″ would be 110 pounds… That’s what they say anyway… 🙂
    Diana xo

  2. Helena was talkative this day! And I can picture her slinking through the fences. Good to learn she was happy losing weight…at that age such things matter more than later in life.

  3. Chatty little thing tonight isn’t she?! It is nice to see how women worried about weight even back then. Funny how we only see it as a current problem.

  4. I think I have seen a photo of Helena when she was older and she was thin. Body image is a thing we usually associate with TV ads but Helena wouldn’t have been nagged by these! Jane

  5. I can honestly say that it didn’t occur to me that weight would be an issue back then. Unless it was way-over-the-top or way-under.
    I hope she was just going through a phase and didn’t starve herself.
    It’s nice to see your Grandma in a chattier mood.

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