1914 Jokes

cartoon 1
Source: Ladies Home Journal (October, 1914)

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

Monday, October 26, 1914: << no entry>>

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

Since Grandma didn’t write anything a hundred years ago today, I thought you might enjoy some jokes that were in the October, 1914 issue of Ladies Home Journal.

She Knew From Experience

“What is conscience”” asked the Sunday school teacher.

There was a dead silence from the class.

“Oh, you know, “She said encouragingly. “What is it that tells us when we do wrong?”

“I know,” said the littlest girl in the class. “It’s Grandma.”

He Started Something

“Now,” said the farmer to the new hand from the city, “I want you to clean up the pigsty and the stable and the henhouse and all the other houses of the stock.”

The new hand worked vigorously for a couple of days. Then he appeared before his employer with both eyes nearly closed, his mouth swollen, and red lumps all over his face and neck and hands.

“Gimme my money,” he said,  “I’m a-goin to quit.”

“What’s the matter?” said the farmer.

I don’t know what’s the matter,” said the victim, “but it happened when I started to clean the beehive.”

Picking Them Out

The Governor of a Southern State came in to his office with a friend one morning to find a number of men waiting in the anteroom. Pausing an instant he told a story that was a decided “chestnut.”

When they got inside the private office the friend said: “That was a horrible one you sprung on those fellows.”

“I know it,” chuckled the Governor, “but did you notice the ones that laughed?”

“Well, I noticed that three or four did.”

“Those, said the Governor, “are the fellows who won’t get in to see me. They are the ones who have favors to ask.”

He Did It

“If any man here,” shouted the temperance speaker, “can name an honest business that has been helped by the saloon I will spend the rest of my life working for the liquor people.”

A man in the audience arose. “I consider my business honest,” he said, and it has been helped by the saloon.”

“What is your business?” yelled the orator.

“I, sir,” responded the man, “am an undertaker.”

Profiting by a Lesson

Young Tommy returned from school in tears and nursing a black eye.

“Betcher I’ll pay Billy Bobbs off for this in the morning,” he wailed to his mother.

“No, no,” she said, “You must return good for evil. I’ll make you a nice jam tart and you must take it to Billy and say, ‘Mother says I must return good for evil, so here’s a tart for you.”

Tommy demurred, but finally consented. The next evening he returned in a worse plight and sobbed, “I gave Billy the tart and told him what you said. “ ‘N then he blacked my other eye and say to send him another tart tomorrow.”

26 thoughts on “1914 Jokes

    1. Humor and the points of reference that underlay the humor have definitely changed some of the last hundred years.

      Grandma will be back. Stay tuned.:)

    1. I’m also thinking that she was busy with other things. One of the most challenging things about using a diary as the basis for a blog is the ebbs and flows in the writing of the diarist–but I guess it also teaches us patience, and in some ways even tells us something about the life of the diarist.

      1. I think that our 24/7 media/entertainment industries today also give us instant access to laughs and terror, such that we begin to believe that life is always exciting. One hundred years ago, people laughed because they interacted with each other, or felt feat at actual threats. But, most days went about doing the mundane tasks that kept them in house-and-home.

        1. One hundred years ago, people laughed because they interacted with each other, or felt feat at actual threats. But, most days went about doing the mundane tasks that kept them in house-and-home.

          True. So, which is better, the old way or the new? At a restaurant last week I saw a middle-aged couple rapt in their respective smart phones throughout the meal, hardly saying a word to one another. (Maybe they were texting each other, I don’t know.)

          1. “Better” suggest that we have a criteria by which to judge. Technology allows people, such as ourselves to interact without the limits of geography, social status, etc. Yet, technology also also a couple to ignor each other over dinner, or event-goes to spend their time telling people where they are while not actually engaging in the event. Technology allows us bloggers and reader to leave a cyber “diary” for someone to read one hundred years from now… assuming that what we write today exists somewhere in the future…

  1. I like the jokes. I am reminded that humor is pretty consistent through the ages. However, the temperance joke is rather out of sync with today’s culture. Public opinion in 1914 was already being affected by the prohibition movement that culminated in amending our constitution in 1920. It’s a good example of a single issue of politics that over-rides all others. It took the nation 13 years to un-do that mistake, but our political system is still subject to the single-issue problem. Now it’s abortion and immigration.

    1. The temperance issue was really becoming a dominant political issue in the 1910s. I’m sometimes surprised how many articles there were in magazines and newspapers from this era related to it.

    1. Yes, it is a similar idea. I’m surprised how many jokes there were in the old Ladies Home Journals. Each month there was an entire page devoted to them. I just selected a few for this post, but there probably were 25 or 30 jokes in all in the October, 1914 issue.

  2. It’s fun to know the jokes that were published one hundred years ago. I really like the first one 🙂

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