Table Setting for a 94th Birthday Party

94th birthday table 2
Source: Ladies Home Journal (September, 1915)

The text that went with the picture said:

Six old ladies were in the habit of visiting a certain tea house once a week—all interesting women, and one of the number was soon to celebrate her ninety-fourth birthday. She confided to the proprietress that she wanted to give a party, and it was to be as jolly as she could make it.

There were to be no peppermints and no weak tea. She had had peppermints given to her every birthday since she was seventy.

The party was a luncheon carried out in yellow and white. The daisies in the centerpiece were made into six bunches, one for each of the party. The favor at each place was a Dresden pincushion, and the place cards were symbolic of the Fountain of Youth.

I know that the drawing and text do not refer to a real woman, but the fact that this picture was in a mass-circulation magazine suggests that lots of hale and hearty women in their eighties and nineties were reading the magazine a hundred years ago — and thinking about how to celebrate their birthdays.

This brings to mind a post I did several years ago when I speculated that there were some incorrect dates in a genealogical resource I was using because the materials indicated that an extremely old woman was very engaged in family and community activities. A reader commented, “I think the dates are correct. Women were strong back then.”

29 thoughts on “Table Setting for a 94th Birthday Party

  1. Peppermint candy every birthday until 70. What a hoot!! I wouldn’t want anymore of them either!!! Although I like a candy cane stuck in a cup of hot mint tea. Lovely table sitting.

    1. Pictures of tables a hundred years ago often show huge centerpieces. That apparently was the style at the time–though it seem like it would be difficult to see (or talk to) people on the other side of the table.

  2. Sheryl,
    My cousin Irwin told me when I was having a cousin’s party that it wasn’t a party if you did not use a 3 tiered dish. I tend to over do things, so, I bought three, three tiered dishes and what a party it was…

  3. So interesting! I always thought most people did not live into their 90’s in those days. Glad I was wrong. And throwing my own party at 94 is on my bucket list now. 🙂

  4. This cracked me up: “There were to be no peppermints and no weak tea. She had had peppermints given to her every birthday since she was seventy.” When you think of it, that’s 24 years of peppermints. It certainly was time to change things up! On her 90th birthday, my mother wanted a bottle of Kahlua. We obliged.

  5. I wonder if peppermints started hurting her teeth – I avoid them now for that reason. My grandmother loved to have little parties and she got very excited and creative about setting the table. In fact, I think of her every time I set the table for company. 🙂

    1. It sometimes seems like people paid more attention to the design of the table for any gathering a hundred years ago. There were centerpieces, party favors, place cards, etc.

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