Cooking With Ida–The Range

Mrs. Ida Bailey Allen cooking in her home kitchen 1917
Cast Iron Wood Cookstove 1800s

Hello History Lovers!

One hundred years ago, Mrs. Ida Bailey Allen, a prolific cookbook author, and home economics educator published a cookbook titled the Woman’s World Calendar Cook Book 1922. Each month featured menu suggestions, recipes, and an article on a topic of importance to an early twentieth-century homemaker. December’s article is titled The Range and Its Operation. By reading the article I realized there was a lot I didn’t know about the development of cookstoves. My perception was that homemakers cooked on behemoth wood-burning stoves (see image above) up until electric stoves magically appeared in kitchens across America sometime in the early twentieth century. As it turns out there were many improvements that took place along the way.

In the 1700s cooking took place in an open hearth. Late in that century the fire was taken from the hearth and placed in a cast-iron box with a flat cooking surface giving birth to the woodburning cookstove. During the 1800s these stoves became more and more user-friendly, less bulky, and highly decorative. By the 1900s experimentation with different types of fuel (coal, manufactured oil/gas, and kerosene) led to the development of cookstoves that could not only burn a different type of fuel (Kerosene) but some models could burn several different fuels (wood, coal, oil/gas) with little adjustment to the stove.

Below are advertisements from the 1920s illustrating cutting-edge ranges of the day. I have also included excerpts from Ida’s book most of which focus on economizing on the use of cooking fuels.

Enjoy!

Advertisement for a Combination Wood and Coal Range 1924

The Coal Range

To get the best results from a coal range it is necessary to understand thoroughly its drafts and mechanism. A little practice will soon show you how to adjust these so as to economize on fuel.

In no part of one’s housekeeping is proper planning of greater value than in connection with the range, whether it be gas or coal. On ironing day, when a hot fire is needed to heat the irons, plan an oven meal of the kind which needs little actual attention—Baked Potatoes, Poor Man’s Rice Pudding, or some Casserole dish. Then, on your regular baking day, plan for further baked dishes which can be held over for a subsequent day’s meals, because the same heat which will bake your pie will also bake potatoes, or will cook the cereal.

As far as the care of the coal range is concerned, there are only two things which must be given serious consideration:

  1. Keep a clear fire by shaking down the greater part of the burned-out ashes which collect in the lower part of the grate, that the air may circulate freely, making the coals glow and give off their stored-up power.
  2. Keep the flues clean and clear of soot and dust, for if these are not kept clean you cannot have proper heat in the oven.
Advertisement for a Combination Coal and Gas Range 1924

Gas/Oil Ranges

This type of fuel was particularly interesting to me. Sometimes called gas and sometimes called oil it refers to a manufactured fuel made from coal, petroleum, waste fats, oils, or gasoline.

A little thought and care will result in materially reducing the cost of cooking by gas/oil. For instance, a steam cooker that operates over one burner makes it possible to cook two or three things at one time, and even without a steam cooker, one can still do this by the use of double and triple saucepans, all of which are placed over one burner.

The newest style of gas/oil range has a solid top like that of a coal range (as opposed to individual burners), the heat from each burner radiating so that a large surface of the stovetop around it is heated, and this materially reduces the gas/oil bill because two or three things can be cooking by this radiated heat.

There are three sizes of burners on almost all gas/oil ranges:

  1. The simmerer
  2. The regular-sized burner
  3. The giant burner

The simmerer is actually used less than any other burner, whereas it should be the hardest worked, for its heat is quite enough to carry on cooking operations after the boiling point has been reached. The giant burner should be employed only when very large cooking utensils are being used.

Be sure that the mixer is properly regulated so that enough air is burned with the gas to give a blue flame and not a red one. The latter wastes gas/oil, soils the pans and gives off less heat than the blue flame.

Advertisement for a Kerosene Stove 1920s

The Kerosene Stove

As ranges moved away from being the cookstove as well as the main heat source in a home, the kerosene stove was touted as an appliance that would help keep the kitchen and the cook cool. However, kerosene stoves never became wildly popular as they were perceived by consumers as a real fire hazard.

A kerosene stove is invaluable, especially for summer use, where gas or electricity are not available. It is sometimes stated that oil is a dangerous form of fuel to use. All fire is dangerous unless intelligently handled, and there is no more reason for banishing an oil stove than any other stove.

A three-burner oil stove with a portable oven will do the necessary cooking for a small family. Give it the same care that you would give to oil lamps. See that the oil tank is properly filled, that the wicks are trimmed, that they are long enough to reach properly into the oil, and be careful that the saucepans placed on the oil stove are not over-filled so that there is no danger of boiling over.

Baking can be done just as thoroughly with oil as with any other fuel. In baking, use the upper shelf of the oven as much as possible, especially in the baking of pies with a bottom crust, because if baked too close to the flame the under crust may become overdone before the top and filling are cooked.

Oven Temperatures

In baking with any form of fuel—electricity, gas, coal, or oil—remember that more food is spoiled by too much heat than by too little.

Accustom yourself to the use of an oven thermometer. It is inexpensive, and it does give a feeling of assurance.

  • A very slow oven, 250 to 300 degrees F.
  • A moderate oven, 325 to 350 degrees F.
  • A hot oven, 350 to 375 degrees F.
  • A very hot oven, 375 to 450 degrees F.

At the turn of the twentieth century, the use of natural gas and electricity was in its infancy in urban areas. In very rural areas it would be decades before either was available.

Articles may be edited for length and clarity.

Stocking the Linen Closet 1922

Hello History Lovers!

The tradition of January White Sales was the inspiration of a Philadelphia department store mogul John Wanamaker in 1878. As a way of stimulating sales during a slow time of year, the White Sale offered customers excess bedding at discounted prices. Of course sheets at that time came in only one color–white–hence the name. Eventually, other household linens were offered at sale prices as well. The White Sale ads included in this post also show reduced prices for fabrics necessary for sewing household linens. The frugal homemaker would buy yardages of fabric in order to sew her own items including underwear for her family thus gaining further savings.

An article in The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women, January 1922, offers advice on how to recognize a bargain, as well as, tips on how to sew and care for linens as economically as possible.

Enjoy!

Harmony News, Cresco, Iowa–January White Sales Ad–January 11, 1923

January White Sales

Practically every store in the country has one week in January devoted to the sale of all types of white goods from yardage materials to table linen, bedding, towels, and so forth. It may be stock that has been on hand and has been reduced for the occasion but more frequently it is apt to be merchandise especially purchased for the sale and both at a price that enables the merchant to sell at a lower than usual figure.

To get the most and best out of these January white goods sales we should know the normal prices of standard goods and have a list of articles needed carefully thought out. The buyer is then prepared to recognize bargains when they occur and may take advantage of them.

Summer Underwear

It is common practice with many householders to buy nainsook, cambric, or long cloth at the January sales by the ten or twelve-yard bolt and commence work upon the summer underwear for the family. If there is a considerable amount of underwear to be made, much may be saved by cutting from the large piece. If all the patterns are gathered together at the beginning of the cutting and various pieces of each pattern are marked with some distinguishing color or emblem so that they can be easily sorted after the cutting, it will be found that pieces of different patterns will often fit in so that only a fraction of an inch is wasted. If only one garment is cut, the larger pieces are of such curves and angles as to prevent such close-fitting or dovetailing.

It is a great back-saver to raise the table about eight inches for the cutting-out operation. Lay all the patterns in place and pin before starting to cut. When certain that they are placed to the best advantage, cut and sort before removing the pattern.

The Sauk Centre Herald, Minnesota–January White Sales Ad–January 11, 1923

Sheets and Pillowcases

Now is the time to replenish sheets and pillowcases, but whether it is better economy to make them or purchase them ready-made must be determined by each housewife for herself. If the time spent in the making is considered, there is little advantage from a money standpoint in making them, as the cost of ready-mades compares very favorably with that of the homemade; but there is an advantage in making them if one does not desire the standard sizes in which the ready-mades can only be procured.

Some states have laws regulating the size of sheets for beds in hotels and rooming houses so that the lodger may be protected against contact with the blankets which are less frequently laundered. In the home, we should be equally careful that the sheet is long enough to protect the sleeper. The feet are entitled to the same protection from cold as the rest of the body and so the sheet must be long enough to ensure secureness at the foot of the bed, and there should be from twelve to eighteen inches at the side according to whether one or two occupy the bed. Therefore, the sheet should be from twenty-four to thirty-six inches longer and wider than the mattress. Too large a sheet is hard to handle and launder and is therefore as much to be shunned as the too-small sheet. They should always be torn to be straight or they will never be satisfactory. Ready-made ones that have been torn will be so stamped.

Making the hems of sheets of the same width ensures more even wear as either end will be used at head or foot, and should be made long enough to properly tuck in at the foot.

If beds are of several sizes, the size of the sheets should be plainly marked so that they may be easily sorted in putting away the linen and also that they may be readily found if needed in the absence or illness of the housewife.

Pillow tubing is more desirable than seamed muslin as the ironing usually causes the greatest wear at the seam. Rip the bottom seam of the tube’s case after it begins to show signs of wear and turn the tube so that the former edges are in the center and sew a new seam at the bottom. This gives the case more even usage.

Towels

January is a good time to stock up on towels for both the kitchen and personal use. Linen is preferable to cotton. Crash and huckaback, are more serviceable than damask although the latter is more beautiful. Here again, the question arises as to the advisability of making or buying ready-made. Usually, a savings is made in making the crash towels but with the others, it is merely a preference of handwork to machine work for if one counts the value of time no money can be saved by making.

Linen Closet Design

In planning a new linen closet, it will be found a great convenience to make the shelves slide, with a slight ledge on the front and sides and a higher back. These can be drawn out similar to drawers but are less expensive to build and are less cumbersome to handle. They work similarly to the wire racks supplied in the cupboard sections of some of the kitchen cabinets.

A Hope Chest

A good New Year’s gift that Brother can make for Sister, is a Hope Chest and there she can accumulate linens and loveliness’s “against” the happy day!

–Georgia Belle Elwell

The above article was originally published in The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women, January 1922, Page 677; Webb Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minnesota. Articles may be edited for length and clarity.

My Great Purpose For 1923–Part 6

Hello History Lovers!

In the final installment of My Great Purpose For 1923, we hear from Mrs. S. from Minnesota who wishes to spend more time with her children and to use that time to teach them skills that will be beneficial to them as they grow up. Along with teaching them hard work and responsibility, she desires to create a bond within her family that will tie them together in peace, love, and unison.

Enjoy!

Creating a Bond with My Children

As the New Year approaches, I find myself planning for 1923. My greatest plan is to involve my children more in home and farm affairs.

I shall begin in the home by raising my present mode of housekeeping by careful planning of my work in order to gain more time to spend with my children.

Next, I shall make more of a companion of my daughter, who is only eight but old enough to stir the cake batter and incidentally learn recipes for different dishes. She shall have batter to bake in her own little patty tins. Grandma calls this “fussing” but I think even fussing is O.K. when it serves a good purpose, don’t you? My daughter shall also have a share in the farm flock and together we will read and keep posted on the poultry business and perhaps display some of our birds at the county fair and poultry show. During the canning season, she and I will prepare an exhibit of fruit, jelly, and other things for the fair.

Robert, who is twelve, shall have a plot of potatoes all his own and either a pig or a calf to care for, pet, and proudly display all profits to be his when the animal is sold.

As a reward for success, he will be promised a chance to join a county contest later on. He also will have an opportunity to exhibit his animal at the fair if he so wishes. With this goal in view, I think he will take more interest in his work.

Do not think that my object is all work and no play for recreation has an important part but I have no space to tell of the good times I am planning. My great purpose for 1923 may sound very simple but in reality, it is very complex as there are scores of details, little plots, and plans which will involve a great amount of labor and patience. But my reward will be ample if I can create a bond between children, parents, home, and farm which will grow strong enough as the years roll by, to hold them together in peace, love, and unison, which after all is my final aim. –Mrs. S.S., Minnesota.

The above article was originally published in The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women January 1923, Page 260; Webb Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minnesota. Articles may be edited for length and clarity.

My Great Purpose For 1923–Part 5

Hello History Lovers!

A mother from rural Massachusetts shares her desire for advanced [school] work for students in the local community. Having raised three sons who had to leave the “home influence” and “go away” to junior high, Mrs. Hadley found that boarding school did not provide the loving support necessary for two of her sons to succeed. As a result, she is determined to prevent this same injustice from happening to other school children in her area by promoting the building of a junior high. She also wisely acknowledges that 1923 is just the beginning of the hard work of bringing her great purpose to fruition.

With the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920, women were empowered to continue promoting economic, political, and civic reforms. It would be interesting to have enough information to research the result of Mrs. Hadley’s and others’ quest.

Happy Reading!

To Get a Junior High School

My Great purpose for 1923 is to start a Junior High School.

Since public schools concern more people than any other enterprise, it seems only natural that every adult should study their requirements and give them every attention possible. The right of every child to have the opportunity for individual success in both social and industrial life is too great to be estimated.

Even if expenses are increased, it is more vital that the school child should be under the home influence and that more children receive the benefit of the two years of advanced work. Many could attend the home school, who could not go away to school. I know these things from experience as I had three children who were away at school and who boarded themselves for the greater part of two years. Some work for their board; a few drive back and forth in a car but none of these conditions are ideal for young people. In all, it is a survival of the fittest. At least, I have found it so. I started three in the pursuit of knowledge and only one graduated.

My idea would be to get the signers for an article and have it put in the warrant before the town meeting. The women must be influenced to attend. The non-progressives must be interviewed and made to realize that we are working for a project that is honest, sound in principle, and unselfish in aim.

It will be plain to every progressive citizen that it is to our advantage and mutual purpose to keep the young people in the home community a few years longer.

It is the solemn obligation of every citizen to promote public school enterprises as the best investment that can be made.

One of these schools in a town of fewer than one thousand inhabitants has been in successful operation for ten years. “They built wiser than they knew.”

To accomplish this 1923 purpose of mine will require unlimited tact, patience, and skill. It may not succeed this year but it will next. The fact that the subject is before the people and under consideration will be encouraging. At present, the inadequate provision in many towns for the education of the child just graduated from the eighth grade is more than an injustice. It is an injury. Mothers, let us work! —Florence Hadley, Massachusetts.

The above article was originally published in The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women, January 1923, Page 260; Webb Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minnesota. Articles may be edited for length and clarity.

My Great Purpose For 1923–Part 4

Hello History Lovers!

Today’s blog post expresses well my appreciation for my readers and followers. Thank you for reading along and taking the time to comment. I am enjoying the journey of learning about our foremothers and I’m Glad You’re Here!

I’m Glad You’re Here!

He stood, that small nephew of mine, in the doorway, while his serious eyes searched the faces before him. And then with a rush he as upon me. Sturdy, six-year-old arms held me fast and an earnest little voice said, “Gee! But I’m glad you’re here!”

And that greeting was the birthday of my purpose for the days of 1923. I resolved then and there to be one to whom that boy could always come with as warm a welcome, and my resolution expanded naturally until I now find myself striving to make all with whom I come in contact “glad that you’re here.” I cannot do this unless I make them feel sure of my friendship and understanding.

In my own home, my purpose means perhaps that I shall be a less perfect housekeeper than in the past but a more perfect homemaker. I shall no longer depend upon mop and broom as adequate mediums for the expression of my love for my family. Its members will not need to wait for my infrequent absences from home in order to try out their pet schemes and hobbies. My program of encouragement will make them glad I’m there to boost and help.

Outside of my home, in the neighborhood affairs, when the next sewing circle meets, perhaps I shall not piece quite so many blocks as usual but I shall get acquainted with the new neighbor. I shall visit school and see for myself if things can’t be made more pleasant for the young girl who is mother-teacher to our boys and girls. And if I can coax others to go with me and sit in that dingy room for a half-day, they will better understand how easy it is for young Johnnie and the teacher to get on each other’s nerves.

I voted in November and as I turned in my ballot, I hoped that we as women had used our franchise so that Uncle Sam can say to the woman voter, “I’m glad you’re here.”

It is a big bill to fill, this 1923 purpose of mine, but it is already bringing results. –J. V. M., Wisconsin

The above article was originally published in The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women, January 1923, Page 260; Webb Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minnesota. Articles may be edited for length and clarity.

My Great Purpose For 1923–Part 3

Hello History Lovers!

In today’s post, a Minnesota farm woman shares her determination to improve her character even if it takes a lifetime.

Enjoy!

I Shall Not Judge

Judging other people is one thing I do that is unjust. “Judge not and you shall not be judged,” is a Bible truth I was taught as a child. I do not fully understand it but I know it is based on wisdom.

Thinking about this habit of deciding as to the right and wrong of other people’s actions, I see that unless I can know all about everything concerning them, their motives, weaknesses, and strengths, I cannot possibly judge them honestly and fairly. Therefore I am going to hold my mind off their affairs. It may take me all my life to learn but such is My Great Purpose For 1923. –R. C., Minnesota

The above article was originally published in The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Wome, January 1923, Page 290; Webb Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minnesota. Articles may be edited for length and clarity.

My Great Purpose For 1923–Part 2

Hello History Lovers!

The author of today’s post shares how her dear Auntie taught her about “turning over a new leaf” for the New Year and working to become a “better girl”– advice that she followed since she was nine years old. Auntie also taught her that “troubles and cares will do you good”– another piece of advice that served her well. Challenges certainly came to this farm woman and she met them head-on. Enjoy!

Turning Over A New Leaf

When I was a little girl at home, I was unsatisfied. I had lots of troubles and disappointments, brooded over them, and could never see the bright side of life. An old lady who had lost all her relatives came to live with my folks. She had her share of troubles, the poor old soul. We adopted her and called her Auntie.

She took a liking to me, although I do not see why she should as I often thought I was the most miserable child in the world. I was sensitive and easily hurt and many times I would go off by myself and cry myself to sleep. Old Auntie would come and sit down by me and read to me from her Bible. Then she would listen to my troubles and tell me they were very small to what other people were suffering in this world and she always would end up by saying: “troubles and cares will do you good, my dear. Ask God to help you see the good.”

One day Auntie told me about New Year’s Day. I did not know that it was the day to “turn over a new leaf” and try to be a better girl. I have been doing that ever since I was nine years old when Auntie told me.

I did not marry a rich man but I married a good man. We started out on a homestead in Montana. We were on our homestead for five years and were dried out every year but we proved up and it is ours now. My husband had to work out away from home and leave me to hold down the claim. We had two children then and I would take the two and the rifle and hunt rabbits and sage hens for food. When I would see anything to shoot, I would put the baby down on the ground and tell the other child to stand by him, and then I would shoot my game.

One day, my tooth began to ache and I walked the floor for three days and nights and could not find any relief. Then baby got sick and I carried him on one arm and held the hot water bottle to my face with my free hand. I walked the floor this way until I was so tired I could not feel. Finally, my jaws swelled shut I could not eat. Then I took the two children and put them in the baby cart and hauled them three miles over sagebrush and rock to my neighbors’ house. They took me to the doctor, twelve miles away, and I had my tooth pulled. All the time I was suffering so I could just seem to hear old Auntie say, “troubles and cares will do you good, my dear.”

They did do me good. I see life in a different light now. We came to Wisconsin and here is our great purpose for 1923: to get on a farm and make good. And I want to help everyone I can to see the bright and better way, and to remember this: one can never have such great troubles that others have not had worse. So I shall forget me and think of others.  –Mrs. A. C. T., Wisconsin

My Great Purpose for 1923–Part 1

Hello History Lovers!

As the year 1922 was drawing to a close, farm women were evaluating the many facets of their lives and determining where they could make improvements during the upcoming year–just as we ponder our annual New Year’s resolutions. They placed emphasis on improving their homemaking skills and personal character. More importantly, they committed to connecting more deeply with their husbands, children, community, country, and God just as women today. I hope you enjoy the new series “My Great Purpose For 1923.”

Wishing everyone a peaceful new year!

My Higher Purpose for 1923

Very often the mother on the farm thinks she has no time for anything but the daily household duties. With that idea in mind, she becomes a slave to her work and has no aim or purpose higher than to attend to the physical needs of her family. This, of course, is necessary but it is not all that is required of a mother.

I am the mother of five boys, three of whom are living. My help in the house is rather limited. One boy is in college, one in high school, and the third in grammar school.

My purpose is to keep in touch with their school life and work as far as I am able so that I can help them when they come to me for assistance or advice. My purpose is to read and study farm subjects so that I can converse intelligently with my husband and together we can work better and more economically.

In church work, as a Sabbath School teacher, I desire to teach by word and example that the only way is the “straight and narrow way.”

In social life, my purpose is to be clean and honest so that I may, if possible, help others to avoid temptations that may arise. In politics, I hope to be able to lay all party lines aside and vote for the man best suited to the office.

In home life, my desire, and purpose is to try to the best of my ability to be a good home-builder and housekeeper. –A Farmer’s Wife, Pennsylvania

The above article was originally published in The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women, January 1923, page 260; Webb Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minnesota. Articles may be edited for length and clarity.

Twelve Greatest Things Series — Love

Hello History Lovers!

The new year brings with it a new series to The Farmer’s Wife Magazine–the Twelve Greatest Things In Life–written by Reverand John W. Holland. The series was originally published in monthly installments in THE FARMER’S WIFE–A MAGAZINE FOR FARM WOMEN. Each month’s article featured a topic regarding the human condition therefore the topics are as pertinent today as they were in 1926. Installments of this series will be posted on the first Sunday of every month throughout 2022.

I hope you enjoy!

THE FARMER’S WIFE–A MAGAZINE FOR FARM WOMEN

THERE are hosts of people who “have something to say”—all they ask is an audience. There are very few who have a message to deliver, something of importance to pass on. Dr. Holland is “a man with a message”. During the months of 1926, he will speak his message through the columns of THE FARMER’S WIFE. It is a queer thing but no matter how wise a man or woman may be, if they know nothing about country life, what they have to say to country people somehow falls short. Dr. Holland is the product of an Iowa farm with which he still is in close touch. He is a minister, serving a large city charge. Between that farm home and young manhood, he worked his way through school.  What Dr. Holland has to say about “The Twelve Greatest Things In Life” is a real message from a real man. Hear him! —Editors.

Twelve Greatest Things in Life — Love

Dr. John W. Holland

I AM Love. I have been called “the greatest thing in the world.” This is true since I make people do the very greatest of things. I have been with men and women since the beginning of creation and shall never desert them unless they try to degrade me into lust.

I cause young lovers to become blind to each other’s faults. For me will a woman leave her father’s house, assume the duties of a wife, crown her life with the sufferings of motherhood, choke her own hunger with a crust that her children may have bread, and wear always a smile won from bitter tears.

I touch the spiring soul of the youth and henceforth he forgets how to live for himself. I put burden after burden upon his shoulders that make him stoop while I sprinkle his head with the snows that never melt. Through long years a man will give his all for Love and call it good.

I cause men and women to love each other, and lo, poetry springs into being.

I incline men to love their country, and they sing of patriotism.

I inspire them with devotions to God, and their hearts break forth into psalms and prayers for courage and purity.

Filled with the holy passion that I am, men always have called me divine, and through hearts purified by Love have called the Deity by my Name.

None can live without me. Kings have left their lonely thrones for one sweet joy which has inspired. Misers have parted with their gold when I kindled my sacred fires in their hearts.

Only through me may men ever understand each other. Whatever wrongs there are which I am not allowed to settle never can be settled by heat and force. Men talk foolishly of making a better earth through the agencies of force or commerce alone. I smile at them for I know that without me there never will be any bond strong enough to bind the nations together.

I teach mankind the sublime secret of inner beauty and for every controlling of their animal natures, I strengthen within their souls the vision of the angelic.

When I am honored in human lives, I build and adorn. When I am driven from the motives of any heart, I become a lurid flame that destroys. Men may fool with me only at their own peril.

Therefore, I call you to Love. Make me the center of your very being. Teach promise to cast out fear, impurity, and hate from their hearts forever. Under my sway, growing youth will become God-like. I swear in honor to sow the flouters of hope and happiness in every home where I am enthroned unto all the years of man’s life upon this earth. I guarantee a peaceable community to every group of neighbors that will receive me.

The highest proof of my heavenly origin I gave from dying lips upon a Cross, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Verily, I am the greatest Truth for all men and women—LOVE!

The above article was originally published in The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women, January 1926; Webb Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minnesota. Article may be edited for length and clarity.

A New Year’s Message

Hello History Lovers!

This time of year many of us overburden ourselves with stringent resolutions and preposterous goals for the upcoming new year. Juxtaposed to our intense resolution making is a poem published in The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women on New Year’s Day 1933. Its message blesses the reader with a sense of peace and a reminder of God’s love for us. Enjoy!

Starting Again With God

DRIFTING, twirling, dancing,
Downward they quietly come,
The beautiful little snowflakes,
Silently, one by one.

Not a sound do they make on their journey,
Not a note to herald their way,
Yet completely do they cover,
The blossoms of yesterday.

I stand at my window at gloaming,
And watch as they flit by,
Seeming like tiny messengers,
Coming from God on high.

Bringing a message of gladness,
A promise of wonderful love,
A symbol of that Great Power,
Who watches from above.

For like the floating snowflakes,
That cover the cold brown sod,
He erases the sins of bygone days,
And we start again with God. 

--Evangeline M., Minnesota

Happy New Year!

The poem above was originally published in The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women, January 1933; Webb Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minnesota. Article may be edited for length and clarity.