The Two Pictures I Would Like Best To Own Series–Part 5

Hello, again History Lovers,

Today a farmwife from Kansas shares her two “best-loved” paintings. While in high school, she spotted the first painting through the window of a furniture store on her way to school. Thirty years later she finally acquired a print and is preparing to have it framed to hang in her home. Her second choice is as humble and as lovely.

Enjoy!

Our Best Loves

The Angelus 1857 by French Painter, Jean-Francois Millet

Well do I remember my childhood days and perhaps that is why I hunger for some of the best things in life and appreciate them more. We were poor and had plenty of privations and real art was not thought of so there were no pictures in our home. How well I remember one winter morning on my way to high school, passing a large furniture store in Kansas City and seeing a copy of The Angelus by Millet in the window. Instantly I fell in love with that picture and it fascinates me as much now as it did thirty years ago. As I gazed upon it, I could almost hear the bells ring. I could not analyze the picture then but now I know that the artist knew and loved the peasants he portrayed and admired their spirit of reverence and thanksgiving, their patient performance of wearisome labor, the beauty of character in people of lowly station, and the power and influence of custom and high ideals. I have The Gleaners by the same artist but I was not satisfied until I owned a copy of The Angelus which is waiting to be framed.

Song of the Lark 1884 by French Painter, Jules Breton

Another picture that gives me a thrill of delight is Song of the Lark by Breton. It makes prominent the simple beauty of youth and health, and labor dignified by the ennobling qualities of character and that there is something beautiful to be found wherever we are if we can only see or hear it and that ability, like happiness, comes from within us.

What great satisfaction and ennobling power in our lives are our “best loves” whether they be for pictures, song, instrumental music, poem, or prose. –Mrs. J. F. M., Kan.

~FWM

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.

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.

How To Be a Good House Guest — 1926

Visiting family or friends for the holidays in the 1920s required advanced planning and preparation for the would-be travelers as well as the hostess. Overnight stays were often necessary due to long slow travel times. Being a good house guest (in any decade) includes politeness, courtesy, good manners, and a general thoughtfulness for the hostess – are they having a nice visit as well? Below is a submission published in the Letters From Our Farm Women section of THE FARMER’S WIFE MAGAZINE addressing this issue. The readers of the magazine voted it “letter-of-the-month” and its author, Mrs. K, received a ten-dollar ($150 today) cash prize demonstrating that the information was very pertinent. Although Americans are much more casual when visiting and entertaining now than we once were, it behooves us to give some thought to this “mighty good counsel.” Happy Reading!

~Elaine

 Mighty Good Counsel

DEAR Farm Mothers:

I want to tell you about some of the courtesies I feel I must teach my children.

When visiting my friends and relatives, I am nearly always treated with politeness and courtesy, but when they visit me, they often fail in this respect.

I have often wondered why this is so and at last, have come to the conclusion that we parents are neglecting to teach our children these things. They learn to be polite hosts or hostess by precept and example at home but, as the faults I have in mind are not very noticeable in childhood and are committed most frequently away from home, the parents are not there to see and correct.

When our children go visiting, we say, “Now be good; don’t eat too much; don’t take large mouthfuls; be sure to say ‘thank you’ and ‘If you please.’ Thus, we teach them to look after themselves and show their good breeding rather than to be thoughtful of the people they visit.

Here are some rules I am teaching my children:

  1. Stay no longer than invited unless urged very much—as if the urge was meant.
  2. Answer all invitations promptly. It may save people work and help in their plans.
  3. State, at start, how long you can stay. Many visits are spoiled by worry as to whether the visit will be a week or month.
  4. Leave before welcome is worn out.
  5. Write if there is a change in plans.
  6. Avoid surprises, except in short calls. Many a woman has worked all through a visit, who otherwise could have been ready and enjoyed it.
  7. Retire at a reasonable hour.
  8. Ask about time of rising and never appear until family has been up a while. Where there is no furnace or bathroom, it is sometimes impossible for a family to get baths because the company is up first, last to bed and around all day.
  9. Do not sit or stand in people’s way.
  10. Do not snoop around, listen at doors, nor enter private rooms uninvited.
  11. Help at work but do not say you “hate” to do the kind you are doing. Learn to use tact. Do not say, “This floor is so dirty; let me sweep it,” or “The flies are so thick; shall I kill them?”
  12. Do not offer to do every little thing you see undone. If the hostess sees you are unhappy unless everything is in order, she will continue to work instead of visit.
  13. Do not visit with others while hostess works, then read when she is ready to visit.
  14. Do not order the family to get any article needed about the home, nor buy meat or such after two or three meals unless you are very close relative. Then that may be your duty and privilege—not otherwise.
  15. Do not talk strange religious doctrines before children.
  16. Give others a chance to talk and don’t be forever giving advice about their affairs.
  17. Don’t stand around dining room or kitchen, as if in a hurry for a meal.
  18. If one of the family needs to eat before the rest, do not sit down with them to eat unless the hostess suggests it.
  19. Do not count cakes or other food to see if there are enough for all, and do not take the worst piece. Your hostess wants you to have the best.
  20. Do not rise before the hostess and begin to clear the table. She may wish to rest and visit.
  21. Try to eat a reasonable amount of what is set before you. If you do not, your hostess will be made considerable trouble trying to get something you do like.

Now, my readers, don’t say, “There haint no sech animal; no one does such things these days.” They do, for all these “don’ts” are built from my own trying experiences. The city and town people break these rules as much and perhaps more than the country people, and the well-educated as much as those who have less education. –Mrs. K., Michigan FWM

The above article was originally published in THE FARMER’S WIFE – A MAGAZINE FOR FARM WOMEN, October 1926, Page 481; Webb Publishing Company, Saint Paul, Minnesota

The Ideal Farm Home II

This post is the second installment in a three-part series on the Ideal Farm Home competition sponsored by THE FARMER’S WIFE MAGAZINE October 1926. Farm women were asked to describe what would make a farmhouse perfect. Running water was at the top of the list, along with a special washroom for the men, a well-lighted sewing room, a “living porch” and a sizeable dining area. The living room was considered the “heart of the house” at that time, and to be considered ideal it must have easy access to good books and music. As I have transcribed these articles, I have felt especially thankful for all the modern conveniences that I usually take for granted. Happy Reading!

Elaine

Part II

OUR readers, of course, practically are unanimous in demanding running water as the greatest single labor-saver – lifesaver indeed! – for the farmhouse.

An almost unanimous demand is for a special washroom for the men as they come in from their outside work. Usually, they suggest that this washroom be in connection with the laundry and so arranged that the men can go straight from it to the dining room or living room without having to go through the kitchen. It also provides a place for outside wraps, overshoes, mittens where they will be dry and warm and – out of the kitchen.

If farm women have pet peeves, the chief seems to be concerning the decoration of the kitchen walls with wraps and having men tramping the kitchen at mealtime.

A well-lighted sewing room is considered an essential and on the first floor so that the work can easily be picked up in odd minutes between other jobs.

Several women suggested a regular sewing cabinet built in the wall, with drawers below for supplies, a drop-leaf door which can be used for a cutting table, drawers and pigeonholes for small sewing supplies in the upper part. Of course, they say, the sewing room must have a good light.

Porches were discussed from all angles. Some farm women think their real living porch should be at the side of the house with only a small entry to the house in the front; others, wish the front porch for their summer living room. A back porch, fairly large and well-screened, is considered a real necessity. Many suggest that it be glassed in for winter use.

The living room was spoken of over and over as “the heart of the house” and farm women insist that it must be exactly what that name indicates, though they differ as to just how this shall be brought about. Nearly all of them do mention two things toward this end – books and music without which family life, farm women, are not complete. The value of good pictures is distinctly recognized. Farm women, almost without exception, do not consider home complete unless there are flowers, winter, and summer. So, they say they must have a glassed-in porch or fernery in front of the window in the living room, or give them wide window sills, even in the kitchen, for their beloved flower pots.

The dining alcove or the separate dining room – this subject was discussed thoroughly. More than 81% of the women who entered the contest say that the farm home needs a separate dining room large enough so that the table can be spread to accommodate guests and extra hands such as threshers and silo fillers. And they say the dining room should be big enough so that children need not wait until the second table or eat in the kitchen when the friends and relatives gather in for holiday celebrations. Some of them solve this problem by having an opening between the dining and living rooms sufficiently large so that the table can be extended into both rooms.

But while nearly all the women wish a separate dining room, they say it is handy to eat in the kitchen at times and opinion is about equally divided between the dining alcove and a kitchen arranged to accommodate a meal table. Some say the alcove interferes less with the routine kitchen work and makes less “mess” in the kitchen and that it is most convenient to have it fitted up so that it is partially set off from the main part of the kitchen and still a part of the room. It is used for the breakfast of those who have to rise very early and then for the breakfast of the little folks who sleep later; for men who come in late to meals or for the occasional guest who is served a lunch between meals. Several spoke of using the alcove as a play nook for the children, where they can cut, paste, sew and carry on their other small affairs and be “out from underfoot.” Several suggest that the seats in this alcove be built as chests or boxes to accommodate playthings.

The farm dining room is used as the informal sitting room of the family, so, our readers suggest that it should have plenty of room not only for the usual dining-room furniture but also for a couch where Father and Mother can stretch out when they have a minute and where Baby can have his afternoon nap. A number speak of a built-in desk here; of this room’s use as a study room in the evening.

Farm women are practically one in realizing that the farm home is – must be – the business center of the farm. Many of the contributors to this contest suggest a small office for the farm man so that he can transact the business end of things in a business-like way and further suggest that it should be possible for him to take his business guests straight to this room or office from either the front or back hall, without taking them through the kitchen or the living quarters of the family.

TO BE CONTINUED

The above article was originally published in THE FARMER’S WIFE — A MAGAZINE FOR FARM WOMEN, October 1926, Page 472; Webb Publishing Company, Saint Paul, Minnesota