Basketball in the Blue Grass Community House 1922

Hello, again History Lovers,

Today’s post gives us a glimpse of just how popular the game of basketball had become by the 1920s. The game was the brainchild of James Naismith in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1891. Needing a game that could be played indoors during fierce New England winters, Dr. Naismith researched other sports that were popular at the time and configured a game that could be played in a relatively small indoor space. With safety in mind, Naismith wanted a game with less physical contact than football yet active enough to help athletes get in shape for the spring track season. The prototype equipment for the game were peach baskets and a soccer ball. Originally the game had only thirteen rules. By the 1910s gymnasiums were being built to accommodate high school and college games. In more rural areas that could not afford to build a new facility, community teams used whatever venue was available.


Playing Basketball in the Blue Grass Community House 1922

A signboard with the words Blue Grass Community House, greet approaching visitors, and sitting back in its surrounding of trees is the house which invites community activities from five townships in Vanderburgh County, Indiana. Most interesting perhaps of all the attractions are the basketball games. Blue Grass Community has ten teams that meet in competitive games or bring in other teams from outside.

The Community Center

The building is a substantial frame structure. The basement is given into a large assembly hall with a cement floor. This is used for serving suppers, large gatherings, and for community fairs. The first floor is the auditorium with a stage and settings, two dressing rooms, and camp chairs to seat two hundred people. This auditorium also acts as a gymnasium and is the scene of many heated contests. A fireplace room on the second floor is both a library and committee room and for small meetings saves the labor and expense of firing the furnace, as well as making an ideal meeting place.


The women look for leadership from Mrs. John S. Riggs, who lives just across the field within calling distance of the building. Dr. C.A. Shake, Rector of the community church, is the leading spirit in all activities and is especially popular with the young folks who keep him busy indeed.

Activities and Programs

Four committees represent Agriculture, Social and Literary Work, Educational Programs, and Recreation, with a chairman for each. Everyone works together and all activities are carried to the Community House: Parent-Teachers Association, Health Talks, Sewing Clubs for girls, all day dress form demonstrations, all day millinery schools, township fairs, fall, and spring club round-up, musicals, home talent plays, the most popular program proving to be the one in which the greatest number of the people themselves take part.


The above article was originally published in The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women, February 1920, Page 716; Webb Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minnesota. Articles may be edited for length and clarity.

Two Pictures I Would Like Best To Own Series–Part 7

Christianity and Patriotism

Hello, again History Lovers,

Today we continue our series of favorite works of art submitted to The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women by subscribers in 1923. Wishing you a happy Sunday.


Christianity and Patriotism

Pictures have practical value. When our son was but a boy his father would show him the pictures and talk about them instilling in him a love for the beautiful that has grown with the years.

The Boy Christ 1881 by German Painter, Heinrich Hofmann

One Valentine’s Day, when our son was in his teens, we framed and presented him with a 20X24” picture of Hofmann’s The Boy Christ. Many times, when questions of conduct arose, his eyes would turn to the picture and its silent influence helped him win on the right side. When he went to college, he asked to take the picture with him and it graced the walls of his room for four years. One day a fellow student in the same house said, “I wish you’d cover that picture up. It seems to penetrate my very soul.” A heart-talk followed which revealed the fact that the young man was not living true to the promise he had made to his mother.

During my teaching career, I placed this picture in the assembly room of a high school. Some weeks later, I said to a young man. “I am pleased with the progress you are making in your studies but more with your better conduct.” Hesitating a moment, he said,

“How can I act as I did when the eyes of that picture are ever following me?”

Abraham Lincoln 1865 by American Painter W.F.K. Travers

Another picture I choose is The Ideal American, Abraham Lincoln. Patriotism is taught first in the home. The story of Lincoln, boy, and man, should challenge our boys and girls. “We become like those with whom we associate.”

These two pictures will influence the home circle, guests, and strangers along the lines of Christianity and Patriotism, fundamentals in social life. –Mrs. C.W.C., Iowa

The Boy Christ Disputing With the Temple Elders 1881 by German Artist Heinrich Hofmann

FYI: The painting referred to as “The Boy Christ” (at the beginning of this post) is a detail taken from Heinrich Hofmann’s painting “The Boy Christ Disputing with the Temple Elders” (above). This painting is referred to by a number of nicknames such as “Jesus In the Temple.” The detail artwork is often referred to as “The Boy Jesus” as well as several other nicknames and has enjoyed a life of its own.


The above article was originally published in The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women, March 1923, Page 359; Webb Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minnesota. Articles may be edited for length and clarity.

One-Hundred-Year-Old Marble Cake

Hello, again History Lovers,

In the post Cooking For Cash, we met Mrs. Alta Dunn, a farm woman from the 1920s who did catering to supplement her family’s farm income. She even included the “rule” or recipe she uses for baking cakes. Curious about her recipe I decided to give it a try.

For a two-layer cake, frosted, I charge $1.25; the same cake baked in a loaf and frosted brings $1. The rule for these cakes if white or marble cake is desired, is: 1 cup sugar, ½ cup butter, 1 cup sweet milk, 2 cups flour, flavoring, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and 4 egg whites stiffly beaten. If baked in layers, I scant the flour a trifle. For marble cake, I take one-third of the batter for the white part; and add coloring to another third, and chocolate or mixed spices to the remainder. If chocolate or gold cake is desired, I use the same rule, substituting 2 whole eggs or 4 yolks for the beaten whites. This makes a delicious, tender cake if carefully mixed and baked.

I use a cream and powdered sugar frosting either white, pink, maple, or chocolate. Any fruit juice may be substituted for cream, beating until frosting is the right consistency to spread.

–Mrs. Alta Dunn, The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women

I mixed the ingredients as listed above, colored, and flavored the batter as described for Marble Cake. I referenced cake recipes from Ida Bailey Allen’s cookbook Cooking Menus Service 1924 for the time and temperature for baking a similar cake–350 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes. It turned out perfectly as the photos below will show. From the same cookbook, I found a recipe for icing made with fruit juice as Mrs. Dunn describes. I replaced the grape juice with maraschino cherry juice. The result was a bit sweet but I used it in between the two layers of cake.

To frost the sides and top of the cake, I used a modern, decadent Chocolate Cream Cheese frosting recipe that I found on the internet. It worked well to tie together the flavors, colors, and layers. I think the bitterness of the chocolate kept the cake from being too sweet. Everyone that I served the cake to enjoyed it including myself.

All in all, it was a fun experiment that helps me better appreciate our hard-working foremothers as it took about three hours to create a $1.25 cake. Below is a slideshow demonstrating the recipe for a one-hundred-year-old Marble Cake.



Twelve Greatest Things Series–Toil

Twelve Greatest Things In Life

The Greatest Twelve concerning which Doctor Holland writes from month to month, although numbered, are not meant to be presented in any order suggesting the importance of one over another. Each lead in its own place—Love, Struggle, Money, Play, Toil, and the seven yet to come.

–The Editors of The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women

Hello, again History Lovers,

I would like to dedicate today’s post on Toil to one of the hardest working women in my life, my maternal grandmother. She not only instilled in me the desire to work hard but also to do the very best job possible.



Man once believed that I came into the world as a curse upon him for their sin; now he knows that the Garden was given to him for his home, his task was to dress and care for it.

Though called by many names, Toil is the one I prefer. Did not an earth’s great poet sing of me,

“Toil makes the soul of man to shine
And makes rest fragrant and benign.”

I am the fulfiller of every noble ambition and hold in my hands the key to every palace that men would enter. I point the way to every path where Hope beckons. If youths will only follow me, I will give to them every excellence and teach them to conquer everywhere.

The earth is full of foolish people, foolish enough to think that they may succeed without toil. All such die no better than they were born. Their last cry is more worthless than their first.

I will put a crown of honor upon the brow of everyone who works, for God has put no distinctions between tasks. The blacksmith and the senator are equally my favorites the artist and the artisan I equally love. I give no man who does not toil any chance of being a real man or of blessing the race. My beatitude is, “Blessed is he who loves his work.”

I am one of the chief solacers of those who have sorrows to forget. The broken-hearted turn ever to me for relief. When bereft mothers wring their hands, I fill them with tasks and make their slumber sweet. Millions of tears I have prevented by putting new burdens upon tired backs. This is a secret of help I have from the Creator.

I am set as one of the joy makers of the heart. I sweeten the bread in the mouth of the toiler. I hide gold in the mountains and pearls in the depths of the sea and make men happy while they toil for their treasures.

The idles, the lazy, the gourmands, the sensualist seek me not. With folded hands and withered dreams, they pass in nothingness to the grave.

Blessed are all who toil: the lover for his beloved; the lady for her liege; parents for their little ones; the artist for his dreams; the scholar for his knowledge, the sinner for his goodness; the farmer for his grain; the shepherd for his flock.

The stars in their courses work on the side of those who are alive with work.


The above article was originally published in The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women, May 1926, Page 275; Webb Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minnesota. Articles may be edited for length and clarity.