One Hundred Year Old December School Bulletin Board Ideas

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

Wednesday, November 29, 1911: Had sort of a little entertainment this afternoon. We got out of school early. Jake was going away so that was the whole reason. I can not give my myself up to a vacation of two days.


Bulletin Board Directions

Going Home. This takes three rolls of white crepe paper, one roll each of yellow, lavender and green, with ten sheets of gray matboard for the trees and fence, which are touched up with black tinting fluid. Orange tissue paper will furnish the hospitable glow seen through the windows. Pink tissue paper over yellow crepe paper is used to produce the flesh tint for the lad’s face. (Ladies Home Journal, December, 1911)

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

In 1911, Thanksgiving was on November 30, and apparently the high school students were let out of school early on the day before the holiday.

I wonder if primary students on the first floor of the school building were also left out early.  Grandma’s friend Rachel Oakes was the primary teacher.  Might Rachel have stayed after school to prepare for the following week? Maybe she took down a Thanksgiving-themed bulletin board picture and put a winter one up.

The December, 1911 issue of Ladies Home Journal had an article titled “Christmas Scenes to be Made of Paper: A Suggestion for the Schoolroom Bulletin Board” that had some great examples.

Bulletin Board Directions

The Sleighride. This requires two rolls of gray crepe paper, three of white, and a roll each of red and green, together with four sheets of gray matboard, two bolts of narrow red ribbon for the sun’s rays, black tinting fluid and a little white cotton. The horse is cut from the matboard and tinted with color obtained by wetting a sheet of brown tissue paper.

Bulletin Board Directions

Christmas Carolers. Black and gray matboard, crepe paper, yellow, and orange tissue.

The Sisters Had a Fight

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

Monday, November 26, 1911:Had exams today. Wonder what some of my marks are. Rufus and I had a squabble tonight over such a trifle. She pummeled me so hard on the head that I had a headache for a while. I guess school marms can lay it on sometimes.

Ruth Muffly

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

Whew . . . it sounds the two sisters had a terrible fight. In the diary Grandma sometimes–—especially when she was annoyed or angry– referred to her sister Ruth as Rufus.

In November 1911, Grandma was 16 years old and Ruth as 19. Ruth was a teacher (i.e., school marm) at one of the one-room schools near McEwensville. What could have possibly angered them so much?

“I don’t know what I know”

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

Wednesday, November 22, 1911: Am trying to recover what I do not know that I missed during the month. I am pretty far behind and it is going to take some studying.

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

I love the line Grandma used in this entry—“Am trying to recover what I do not know that I missed during the month.”

It reminds me of the mastery matrix.

The worst quadrant to be in is the one where you don’t know what you don’t know—but at least you are comfortable there in your ignorance.

I think that Grandma was in the most frustrating quadrant. She knew that she didn’t know something—but she couldn’t quite get a handle on what it was.

100 Year Old Ad for Quaker Oatmeal

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

Tuesday, November 21, 1911: Nothing doing.

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

Since Grandma didn’t write much a hundred years ago today, I’ll share an old advertisement for Quaker Oatmeal.

It has lots of mind-boggling “statistics.” I wonder if there were any truth in advertising requirements regarding what types of research was needed to back up the numbers a hundred years ago.

How Much of This Difference is Due to Oatmeal?

We have canvassed hundreds of homes which breed children like these. And we find in the tenements—where the average child is nervous, underfed and deficient—not one home in twelve serves oats.

Among the highly intelligent—where mothers know food values—seven-eighths are oatmeal homes.

In one university, 48 out of 50 of the leading professors regularly serve oatmeal. Among 12, 000 physicians to whom we wrote, fourth-fifths serve their children oatmeal.

The average daily serving in the finest hotels is one pound to each 28 guests.

Boston consumes 22 times as much oatmeal per capita as do two certain states where the average education is lowest.

It is everywhere apparent that the use of oatmeal is directly in proportion to the percentage of the well-informed.

A canvass of 61 poorhouses shows that not one in 13 of the inmates came from oatmeal homes. Only two per cent of the prisons in four great penitentiaries had oatmeal in their youth. In the lowliest vocations very few are found to be oatmeal bred.

But four-fifths of all college students came from oatmeal homes. So did the great majority of the leaders interviewed in every walk of Life.

Scientific Opinion

This seems to confirm scientific opinion that a child’s fitness depends largely on food. Oats are richer than all other cereals in proteids, the body builders—in organic phosphorous, the brain –builder—in lecithin, the builder of nerves. They form the best-balanced food that Nature supplies, especially for the years of growth.

Quaker Oats

Just the Richest Oats

Quaker Oats is made of just the richest, plumpest oats, selected by 62 siftings. We get only ten pounds to a bushel. Millions know that these selected oats, prepared by our process, form the most delicious oat food in existences. And the cost is only one-half cent per dish.

Regular size package 10 cents.

Family size package, for smaller cities and country trade, 25 cents.

The prices noted do not apply in the extreme West or South.

Look for the Quaker trade-mark on every package.

The Quaker Oats Company


National Foods Magazine (December 1910)

An Outlandish Fib

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

Monday, November 20, 1911:We got a good joke off on Carrie at school today. It was a most outlandish fib she told, and oh so shocking.

Recent photo of the school that Grandma and Carrie attended.

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

Hmm. . . what was the story behind this entry? Carrie Stout was a friend of Grandma’s. I can’t quite figure out a probable relationship between a fib and the others (the class?) somehow playing a joke on Carrie.

Maybe Carrrie lied about homework? . . .but what would be the follow-up joke?

Or maybe she lied about why she was late getting to school? . . . and then the class . . .did what??

I might as well quit guessing. Some things are just impossible to figure out a hundred years later.

1911 Thanksgiving Vegetable Centerpieces

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

Saturday, November 18, 1911: Didn’t so much of anything today, except to be exceedingly lazy.

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

Maybe Grandma spent a quiet Saturday reading magazines. The November 1911 issue of Ladies Home Journal had some great pictures of Thanksgiving vegetable centerpieces.

Centerpiece made with squash, carrots, celery with leaves, tomatoes, parsley, cranberries, and evergreen cuttings
Centerpiece made with carrots, cranberries, potatoes, onions with brown skin partially removed, and candles
Centerpiece made with onions with brown skin removed, popcorn, parsley, and candles
Centerpiece made with pumpkin, carrots, tomatoes, evergreen cuttings, and candles

Snooping at the Teacher’s Desk

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

Friday, November 17, 1911:Another girl and I made our teacher feel cross for awhile this afternoon.  He had drawn a picture of a ring and beneath it we wrote “my diamond.”  Now he gives some of us credit for snooping at everything he has on his desk.

Did the paper look like this?

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

This is one of my favorite diary entries. Grandma must have been a hoot when she was young.

This entry also makes me wish that I knew more about her teacher. I know that the teacher’s name was Howard Northrop—but little else.  In most diary entries he seems like the stereotypical teacher—gives hard tests, puts Grandma on the spot sometimes when she isn’t paying attention, etc.

In this post her teacher seems really human—How old was he? Was he cute? Did he have a girlfriend? Was he thinking of asking her to marry him? If so, how did it all work out?