An Upcoming Trip

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

Friday, August 7, 1914:  Florence and I walked to Watsontown this afternoon. She couldn’t stay till train time. Ma wanted me to go to Milton to get her teeth. It was nice and breezy riding down on the car.

Hope Mother dear doesn’t see this. Something would happen if she did. I bought a brownie. It is a little over a week e’er we go to Niagara Falls, and well the temptation was too great. I didn’t want Ruthie to lay her eyes on that package. She has such a way of divining things. I left Mr. Package under a cherry tree, where I felt sure it would not been seen. After dark I smuggled it into the house and up to my room.

1909 Kodak Brownie Camera*
1909 Kodak Brownie Camera (Manufactured: 1909-1915)

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

Wow, Grandma, there’s a lot in this diary entry. You’re getting downright wordy.

Niagara Falls! You’re going to Niagara Falls! Last spring you wrote that you went to Williamsport—which is only 20 miles away—for the first time in your life. And, now you’re going all the way to Niagara Falls! Awesome!. . . Tell us more.

Is the “brownie” a camera? Why would your mother have been angry if she’d known you’d purchased it? You have so much fun taking, and developing, photos. In my humble opinion, you definitely need to new camera to record the trip.

See any cherry trees?DSC04327


Ruth (or Ruthie in this diary entry) was Grandma’s sister. I have no idea who Florence was. This is a new name in the diary.

35 thoughts on “An Upcoming Trip

  1. I think that she would have bought a No. 1 Brownie or maybe a No. 2 Brownie. These were simple box cameras with roll film. A good camera to take on a trip at that time. I remember from earlier posts about her taking pictures and developing film, so she already has a camera. However, it was probably not practical for a trip.

    I have a Six-20 Brownie Junior from the 1930’s and a Brownie Beagle from the 1940’s. Now I am thinking about a post about cameras some day 🙂

    1. Yes, you definitely should do a post on old cameras. I couldn’t seem to find many good resources on them when I googled it. You’re probably right that she had a more basic model. I was thinking that maybe her mother didn’t think that she needed another camera since she already had one.

    1. She didn’t do photography when she was older–though I think that my father mentioned that she occasionally developed photos in the basement stairwell when he was a child.

  2. My first camera was a Brownie, although a later model. I took mine to camp with me, and some of our vacations. My goodness, I’m so glad we have digital now, so we don’t have to pay for developing all those bad pictures along with the good!

    1. The photography-related technology sure has changed across the years. Remember the old cameras with separate flash apparatus and flash bulbs?

  3. This is a cool post, my ancestors lived in Lycoming County, PA also. My great grandpa had his portrait taken in Williamsport.

    1. Thank you! I’m glad you liked the post. Williamsport is a nice town. It was booming at the turn of the 20th century. . . faced some difficult years during the late 1900s. . . and is now growing again.

    1. It sounds like you have lots of connections to the general area that this diary is about. The town of Northumberland is probably about 12 miles south of McEwensville.

    1. I also thought that it was interesting that she went to get her mother’s teeth. Her mother was only in her early 50s. I guess people didn’t have as good oral hygiene back then as they do now.

  4. Good thing you explained that Brownie was a camera. I thought she was sneaking a little chocolate brownie into the house. I was wondering how that correlated with the weight loss she had been talking about. Guess I was barking up the wrong tree. I really laughed when I read that you said it was a camera.

    1. I must admit that I may have peaked ahead a little, which may have given me a bit more context about what kind of “brownie” the diary entry was referring to.

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