Cooking With Ida–Making Yeast Bread 1920s


The Whole Loaf
Once upon a time
There was a woman
Who loved
Beauty.
She longed to paint, to make fine music.
But her life was cast in other lines.
Disappointment embittered her soul.
“Shall I live forever in a dream of what I cannot be?” she said.
“Because my time must be given to homely tasks and the care of children, shall I never express beauty?”
She visited a gallery.
She saw a picture—a perfect thing.
Fruit arranged in a basket, and some garden flowers.
And nearby another—a quaint bowl of milk—a loaf of bread and a blue-eyed child.
“I have fruit, and a basket covered with dust,” she said.

It was time to feed the Littlest Child.
He was blue-eyed.
There was a handsome loaf.
On the top shelf was a quaint bowl.
She put it before him—filled with milk.
The scales fell from her eyes—
She had the Whole Loaf.
~Unknown

Hello, again History Lovers!

In today’s post, we are once again Cooking With Ida. The information below comes from two of Ida’s books Woman’s World Calendar Cook Book 1922 and Cooking Menus Service 1924 in which she walks the home baker through the required steps in making yeast bread. The yeast that our foremothers would have used in their baking was either compressed cakes of yeast or the granulated version called Active Dry Yeast (ADY). The granulated variety is available today and our mothers and grandmothers may still be using it however, modern home bakers generally opt for a newer faster rising version of ADY–Instant or Rapid-Rise. (King Author Flour recommends Rapid-Rise Yeast for use in bread machines and SAF Instant Yeast for hand-made bread and baked goods).

By the way, the charming poem The Whole Loaf at the top of this post was printed at the beginning of the chapter on Yeast Breads in Cooking Menus Service. Sadly there is no credit given to the poet. Although there are a number of poems included in this cookbook I am quite certain that Ida was not the poet as none of her other cookbooks include poetry.

By the sponge method, a thick batter is made, using all the required liquid, yeast salt and enough flour to give the batter the desired consistency--it should be about the thickness of a muffin mixture.

Yeast Bread Making 1920s

“The exact science of bread making is a chemical one, consisting of the proper blending of flour, liquid, salt, and yeast into a dough which is raised by the growth in it of the yeast fungi. During that raising the action of the yeast converts part of the starch into a form of sugar and the yeast cells, feeding on this, activates fermentation; and as the dough is fermented and raised, thousands of little cells or pockets are formed in it. During the baking, however, the fermentation is stopped by the heat, the result being the light, porous bread with which we are familiar.”

Proper Kind of Ingredients

“What are the necessary ingredients for making bread? Flour, salt, liquid, and yeast. These four we must have; some variations are possible. The flour may be of more than one variety, but some wheat flour we must have for good bread. The liquid may be plain water, the water in which potatoes have been cooked, or milk, or two of these in combination. The yeast may be compressed or dry yeast according to convenience. Other ingredients may be potatoes, shortening, and a little sugar or syrup.”

Methods for Making Bread

“There are two methods of bread making—(a) the sponge method, and (b) the straight dough method.”

The Sponge Method

At first glance, one might mistake the Sponge Method for the “proofing” process in which the viability of yeast is tested by mixing yeast with a little water and a pinch of sugar and allowing it to “proof” for several minutes to see if the mixture becomes active. A 1920s home cook may well have proofed her yeast before beginning to mix her bread sponge if she had concerns about the freshness of the yeast. The preparation of the sponge required mixing yeast, salt, sugar, and some of the flour into the liquid resulting in a thick batter. The batter was then set away in a warm draft-free place to rise for an hour or longer. At that point, the remaining flour was kneaded into the sponge and the dough was set away again to rise. The advantage of this method was that it required less yeast thereby making a less yeasty-tasting loaf as well as making a fluffier loaf of bread. The drawback was that the dough required two rises before shaping and a third after shaping and prior to baking resulting in a longer bread-making process. Ida continues:

“By the sponge method, a thick batter is made, using all the required liquid, yeast, salt, and enough flour to give the batter the desired consistency—it should be about the thickness of a muffin mixture. A very little sugar or sugar solution may be added to hasten the process of rising. A smaller amount of yeast may be used in bread made by the sponge method than when the straight dough is employed, as yeast rises more rapidly in a semi-liquid mixture than in one which is firm.

After the sponge has become light, that is, after the yeast has become thoroughly “active” and the mixture is filled with consequent gaseous bubbles, the remainder of the flour is added and the mixture kneaded to an elastic dough, either by hand or in a bread mixer, from which point it is treated the same as for a straight dough.”

The recipe below is an example of a bread recipe using the Sponge Method. Interestingly White Bread recipes took precedence in Ida’s book Cooking Menus Service 1924 probably due to the fact that white bakery bread was all the rage so home bakers desired white bread as well.

Cooking Menus Service Cookbook, Ida Bailey Allen, 1924

Straight Dough

“A straight dough is one in which the ingredients are all blended at one time, kneaded, and the dough set aside to rise. By using a larger amount of yeast, bread may be quickly made by the straight-dough method, or it may be allowed to rise for a longer period and less yeast is used. The ingredients after blending must be kneaded until smooth and elastic, then set aside to rise as in the case of bread made by the sponge method.

Whereas the methods of making bread by both dry and compressed yeast are practically identical, the process when making it with dry yeast is facilitated if a soft sponge is first made, so that the little yeast plants may have all possible assistance in their growth. It is also advisable to make such a sponge when preparing coffee cake or rolls, or whenever a fine-textured result is desired, or when rich ingredients are being used, no matter what kind of yeast is chosen (Be aware that this is outdated information and is no longer necessary with the ADY we use today). Success in bread making consists of the use of a reliable recipe; care in keeping the rising dough at a temperature of not less the 70 degrees F., nor more than 95 degrees F.; shielding the dough from draughts and the proper baking”.

The Necessary Equipment

In all of her cookbooks, Ida was a proponent for anything that would help make a housewife’s work easier and more efficient so it was no surprise that she would promote the acquisition and use of a piece of equipment called a bread mixer (photos below). I’m not sure cranking a handle was any better than kneading bread by hand. It would certainly not have been as therapeutic. More from Ida:

The use of a bread mixer facilitates bread making, obviating kneading by hand and actually saving a fourth of the flour. As these mixers may be obtained in both small and large sizes, they are practical for use in every family.”

~FWM

Neighborhood Activities

This Club has been the social life of our community.

~Mrs. Frances Sparrow, Piatt County, Illinois

Hello, again History Lovers!

Club membership provided rural farm women social and enrichment opportunities. Today’s post consists of letters written to The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women in February 1922 regarding various club activities and volunteer work.

Enjoy!

Letters From Club Members

Dear FARMER’S WIFE: We organized our Women’s Club over a year ago and call it the South Prairie Women’s Club. It is composed of wives of the men of the threshing ring and their daughters over fifteen years old. We meet every month, discuss all problems which bother us, school work, current events, have music of some kind, have a wiener roast in October for the young folks, a picnic in June for the kiddies, and a regular banquet in February for our husbands and, last but not least, we have a big feast with ice cream some evening when we finish threshing. This year we had our farm advisor as a guest at this supper who gave us a talk on grain marketing. This club has been the social life of our community. –Mrs. Frances Sparrow, Piatt County, Illinois

Dear FARMER’S WIFE: The people of Stony Point school district, Dickinson County, Kansas, last year realized the need of having something to bring the people together at the schoolhouse and so organized a community club. The motto is For the Good of Home and School and we met every two weeks last winter and had programs, having an outside speaker occasionally but mostly the members taking part. Two events were given for the purpose of making money: a pie social, with a spelling and ciphering match for entertainment and a play. With the money we bought gasoline lamps for the schoolhouse, cups, spoons, and plates, to be used for hot lunches by the school children and on club nights. Some books and folding chairs have been purchased. For our study work this year we are going to take topics on the United States. We find teachers and superintendents of nearby towns always willing to help with our programs –Florence Knight Killian, Dickinson County, Kansas.

Dear FARMER’S WIFE: Our Mother’s Club was first organized at the small schoolhouse Dist. 8 of Otoe County, Nebraska in the fall of 1916 with 22 members. Later the club was taken into the Federation in the spring of 1919. We meet alternately at the schoolhouse and at a home twice a month. Hot lunches were started in school for the winter months. Cupboard and dishes were bought to help with these.

Two home-talent plays have been given to make money. We also have had numerous parties including farewell surprise parties for those who leave the district and we give them some token of remembrance.

This summer we had a wiener roast picnic at Antelope Park, Lincoln. Besides these, we have our regular club banquet or open meeting to which each member’s family is invited. The object of our club is to cooperate with teachers and pupils for the betterment of school and community. –Jessie Lanning

Dear FARMER’S WIFE: A few years ago our people of the community met at a vacant house and organized a Farmers’ Union Local which took in all the members voted upon from sixteen years up. They have continued to meet from house to house every two weeks, with attendance from twenty-five to one hundred and twenty-five. While the men are holding a business meeting, the women are busy with fancy work or clearing up the tables after an appetizing lunch. A program is sometimes given. Usually, our largest gatherings are in vacation time when the young folk can enjoy a good ball game.

At one meeting a barrel of vinegar was distributed at thirty cents a gallon, so a little was saved that way. Other supplies are ordered in season. A general good time is enjoyed and everyone goes home satisfied. Nothing but urgent duty will keep one away from “the next meeting”. –Ellen B. Fleming

~FWM

The above article was originally published in The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women, February 1922, Page 716; Webb Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minnesota. Articles may be edited for length and clarity.

The Twelve Greatest Things Series–Struggle

Twelve Greatest Things In Life

First in his list of The Twelve Greatest Things In Human Life, Doctor Holland named Love. This month comes sturdy Struggle. Some of our friends are memorizing the short chapters; others are pasting them up in scrapbooks.

Hello, again History Lovers!

The new year brought with it a new series to The Farmer’s Wife Magazine–the Twelve Greatest Things In Life–written by Reverend John W. Holland. The series was originally published in monthly installments by 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.

My sincerest apologies for posting a week late. Blogging was trumped by a ski weekend with my children and grandchildren. 😉

Struggle

“I AM almost as ancient as Love. Although called by many names and often cursed by foolish men, I remain unchanged.

I am the guardian of all good, for I test everything. In my furnace fires, all minerals have been burned so that only the best were left.

When Life appeared on the earth, I pounced upon it and beset its pathway with so-many difficulties that only the strong remained.

As the trees sprang from the fertile earth, I whipped them with many storms so that they which endured might have fiber strong enough to stand.

When Man came in innocence from the Creative Hand and fell into wrongdoing, I stood by him and helped him to win strong virtues in the place of his lost innocence.

Men sometimes rebel at me but they can have no great destiny without me. I am rough on the exterior but my hands are lined with velvet. I am the unwelcome trainer of all things that would grow.

I cradled a boy in poverty. I took away his mother and drove him out among rough men to win his lonely way. I denied him the schooling of the cultured and compelled him to labor in sorrow in a wilderness. I broke his heart by stealing from him the sweetheart of his youth. I battered at his brain till he was almost frenzied. I fed him the bread of poverty but through it all, I watched over him, enlarged his sympathies, quickened his brain, till at last, Lincoln, arose like a colossus among the saviors of the race.

Cowards and weaklings are afraid of me but I know the only things that will make real men of them. Women who are foolish enough to try to shield themselves from me sink into nothingness.

I temper the heart and sinew of the athlete by making him fight and work for his laurels.

I gave to virtue its divine quality by compelling it to fight to the death its sinful enemies.

I make bread sweet in man’s mouth by his very labor for it.

When earth needs prophets, I prepare scorpion whips for the hands of those who scourge the backs of the good.

I make the noblest music of the world from the anguish of suffering.

Would you be well? Then fight the enemies of health. Do you desire to become wise? Dig for the gold of wisdom. Would you be noble? Master every lurking secret weakness within you. Would you be a saint? Annihilate sinning.

Men desire easy paths to glory. I refuse them utterly, for my noblest crown is a Crown of Thorns, and life’s sweetest bliss is the memory of a conquered sorrow.

The angel that you desire to carve I have hidden for you in the hard block of marble.

My name is Struggle!”

FWM

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

What is a Home Demonstration Agent?

Hello History Lovers!

During the 1920s The Farmer’s Wife—A Magazine For Farm Women published articles about Home Demonstration Agents and their services. By reading the articles I was able to glean some of the purposes of Home Demonstration Work but I was not really clear about the “agents” affiliation or the extent of their influence. Fortunately, I ran across a charming pamphlet (U.S. Department of Agriculture Miscellaneous Publication Number 178) published in 1933 providing the answers to my questions. Below are excerpts and photos from this pamphlet.

The Purpose

“There are over 6,000,000 farm homes in the United States. The women and girls who so largely influence the family life in these homes are endeavoring to develop efficiency in their home-making duties and to find satisfaction for themselves and their families in rural life.”

The Connection

“To aid them in this effort, home demonstration work, a nationwide system of home-making education, is carried on by the United States Department of Agriculture and the State colleges of agriculture. The local representative of this system is the home demonstration agent. She is a college graduate trained in home economics, who works with the women and girls of a given county. The home demonstration agent keeps informed regarding all matters that affect the home and brings the latest scientific information to rural homemakers in such form that they can readily apply it in practical daily life.”

The counterpart to the female Home Demonstration Agent and her responsibilities is the male County Extension Agent whose responsibility it was to educate and demonstrate new and proper farming practices. Just as home demonstrations took place in the homes of county housewives, agricultural demonstrations took place in a farmer’s field. Interestingly these offices and services are still available today with a large focus on the 4-H youth program. Instead of the title Home Demonstration Agent, a woman in this position is now referred to as the County Home Economist.

The History

 “The first home demonstration work was with rural girls. In 1910 a tomato club of 47 girls was formed in Aiken County, S.C. The work with women began in 1913 and was rapidly established in 15 Southern States. In 1914 the Smith-Lever Act authorizing cooperative extension work in agriculture and home economics was passed, making Federal funds available for home demonstration work throughout the United States. Federal, state, and county governments cooperate in maintaining the home demonstration agents.

The work has consistently expanded in volume and in scope, and at present home demonstration work is conducted in every state including Hawaii, and in Alaska.”

University Home Economics students training to become Home Demonstration Agents 1925

Meet a Home Demonstration Agent

The October issue of The Farmer’s Wife —A Magazine For Farm Women 1921 introduces its readers to a prominent Home Demonstration Agent. This article points out the level of expertise these agents held.

“Miss Ola Powell is assistant in charge of Home Demonstration and Girls’ Club work for the Office of Extension Work in the South. Miss Powell was born in Texas but spent the greater part of her early life in or near Philadelphia. Having always been greatly interested in gardening and homemaking, she took a course in home economics and graduated from Drexel Institute. Later she had charge of school garden work in Cleveland, Ohio, and in connection with that carried on canning to demonstrate the principles of proper utilization of garden crops.

Miss Powell’s interest in canning lead her to make a very careful study of it in its advanced phases. She also made a study of commercial canning and preserving in some of the foremost commercial packing establishments. As a result of her experience in both gardening and canning, she was appointed as assistant state home demonstration agent in Louisiana, from which position she was soon promoted to that of state agent. After serving only a few months as the leader of that state she was called to Washington by the Office of Extension Work South to serve as an assistant in directing the work with women and girls.

Miss Powell’s appreciation of the value of high quality inspired the workers in the South to a determination to maintain high standards in all club products put up and marketed under the 4-H brand label. Her fine influence and inspiration along with all other phases of home demonstration work besides canning have been recognized.

Due to her broad understanding of this work, as well as to her fine personal qualities and the ability for organization, she was called to France this spring to assist the French Ministry of Agriculture and their representative, Madam Devouge, in the teaching of home canning to the women of France”.

As Home Demonstration Work in the early twentieth century was so much a part of rural farm women’s lives, I will be frequently posting examples of their club work in the future.

The above article was originally published by the US Department of Agriculture 1933 and The Farmer’s Wife Magazine—A Magazine For Farm Women, October 1921, Page 568; Webb Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minnesota. Articles may be edited for length and clarity.

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 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