Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » She Had a Question, 1914

She Had a Question, 1914

By: Ardis E. Parshall - June 11, 2009

Blackheads, dangerous hairstyles, and the folly of sudden fascinations — nothing was too small to merit the attention, nor too large to stump the wisdom, of the “Girl Query” Department of the  Young Woman’s Journal in 1914. Witness:

“Mrs. A.J.” many women have attended school or specialized in certain studies at an older age than 40. If you have the opportunity, and a special desire to qualify yourself in the subjects mentioned, there is no reason why you should hesitate. We are never too old to learn.


How can I remove ink stains from my white dress? – Jennie.

Place the stain over steam and apply salt and lemon juice. The stain will disappear almost immediately.


Is it ever right for a girl to marry for a home? I am working, also keeping house for father and the younger children. I sometimes get so tired and a gentleman whom I respect but do not love wants to marry me. – Jane.

No, do not marry unless you truly love the man you intend to take as a husband. Anything less than love would not insure you a happy married life. Tell the young man frankly that you do not love him, so cannot marry him. There may be a possibility of your loving him in the future. Wait. Do not be discouraged. Do not marry for a home. Rather go on with your work. Though you do get “tired” you will be much happier in the business world, than to marry without true love that is great and lasting. The man you marry should be necessary to your happiness.


Where can I have hair combings made into a gentleman’s watch chain? – Grace.

At the Sasse Hair Factory, 218 South Main St., Salt Lake City. Price, including mountings, from $4.00 to $13.00.


Is it proper for me to ask young men to call upon me, or should they ask permission to call? – Naomi.

It was once the fashion for a man to ask to call, but the modern way is for the lady to ask the gentleman to call, thereby preventing the acquaintance of men she does not care to know or entertain.


If I am the first to leave a party or social, should I say good-night to the hostess or any of the guests? – Blanche.

When retiring from a crowded party, it is unnecessary to seek the hostess, as by so doing you would remind others and thus break up the party before the time set to do so. If you meet the lady of the house while going for your wraps, bid her good-night, quietly, and slip away without attracting attention.


Does the General Board approve of the style of hair dress shown on page 758 of the December Journal? – Leona.

The picture referred to was not taken to show the hair but to illustrate the kimona. We regret very much that our subject had her hair dressed in such a fashion. We do not approve of that style. It is just possible that wearing the hair in such fashion would, in time, cause partial deafness.


What is the proper place for the knife and fork when one’s plate is being passed to the one who is carving? – Elizabeth.

If the knife and fork have been used, they should be left on the plate, otherwise they should remain on the table.


“Jemima.” – The gentleman should present the box of candy unopened. The lady then removes the ribbon and cover, and offers it to the gentleman to select what he prefers.


Our kitchen walls are covered with oilcloth. What can I use in cleaning that will remove the smoke and dirt? – Lottie.

To one gallon of hot water, add one pint of kerosene and one tablespoonful of washing soda. You will be surprised how easily the dirt can be removed.


“Hopeless” – All I can tell you is to obey your mother. You are too young to act independently of her.


“Marcia” –- Moles sometimes undergo malignant degeneration. For this reason I would advise you to have them removed if they are any size at all. They can be removed by a skilful physician without much trouble. You should not attempt the removal yourself.


A girl meets a gentleman for the first time at a social, should she recognize him on the street? – Irma.

According to extreme rules of etiquette, when people meet as fellow-guests at the home of a friend, the introduction is merely for the social hour, and although they may engage in conversation, it is understood that it ends with the hour. There is a difference, however, in city and country life; some rules of etiquette in the city would be perfectly unreasonable in the country, as conditions are so different. One must use judgment and reason in all things.


“Mrs. H.E.” – A strong solution of carbolic acid and water, poured into ant holes, kills all the ants it touches, and the survivors immediately disappear.


What is meant by the “Lamb’s Book of Life”? – Jessamine.

The Lamb’s Book of Life is the book in which are written the names of those who are sealed up unto eternal life. Those who remain faithful. See particularly Rev. 20:12-15; 21:27; 3:5-13; Phil. 4:3; Ex. 32:32; Ps. 69:28; Dan. 12:1; Luke 10:20.


“Margaret” — A young man is always at liberty to pay attention to the girl of his choice, if it be agreeable to the girl. It is not quite modest or delicate for a young lady to solicit the courtshipo of a young man, when he shows such indifference as you mention.


“E.L.” – If the young man is on a mission, a letter of friendship occasionally would be perfectly proper.


At what hour can a wedding breakfast be served? – Lucy.

It depends on the hour you are married and your own idea. A wedding breakfast should not be served after one o’clock.


“Ione” – A girl of thirteen should be wearing short dresses, and the most attractive, neat and girlish way of wearing the hair would be to part it, or comb back loosely to allow it to wave, and braid in one or two long braids, down the back with a ribbon near the end. Another way: Take the two braids and twine around the head, putting a pretty bow on either side. The “ear coil” or wearing on top of the head, is not girlish enough for you.


Is it proper for girls to address men as “John” or “Tom”?

No. It is not a good idea. You should address them: “Brother, or Mr. Smith or Jones,” unless they are very intimate friends.


“Blonde” — No, I would not advise going on the stage. The inexperienced young girl knows nothing of the stage or its requirements. Success in that profession means hard work, and lots of it; long hours, irregular meals, and small salary. You must begin at the bottom, just as in any other profession. Most of the traveling is done at night after a lengthy and arduous performance. When you arrive in a town in the early morning, you go to hotel, eat a hurried breakfast — not a home-cooked one — go to rehearsal at ten, matinee at two, hurried supper, evening performance and off on the train for the next town. Though you may be in a city for a week, your lot is hard; you will have to study during your “rest periods,” because another piece is under rehearsal to be brought out soon. Then you pay for your own costumes, do your own mending when you should be sleeping, etc. Better stay at home and use your talent in your family, church or town. Brighten and cheer the people right around you. Usually there is more happiness to be obtained in the common things of life, than in the glamor of the footlights.


What kind of flowers should a bride carry? – Melissa.

Bride roses are beautiful, but not always obtainable. Lilies-of-the-valley, daisies, carnations, lilacs, or sweet peas are all suitable. A pretty way to arrange the bouquet is to take different lengths of narrow white satin ribbon and entwine in the bouquet, upon which flowers are pinned at intervals of a few inches. These, falling in a shower, nearly cover the front of the gown, and look novel and tasteful.


What can I do for my nerves? I am just dreadful at times, even my children make me nervous. – Mrs. A.J.

First of all, get hold of yourself. Next I will give you a remedy that one physician gave a lady patient, although simple it proved very helpful. He said: “My prescription, madam, is that you knit two hours daily. Nothing is more soothing to the nerves; nothing conduces to such a calm and cheerful frame of mind. Knitting is better than any medicine that I could give you. It is told of Robert Louis Stevenson that one of the many things he learned to do when ill or restless was to knit.”


“R.E.F.” – If you will send stamped addressed envelope I will mail you formula for blackheads.


“Patience.” – I do not believe in “suden facinations.” What do you know about the young man?

Perhaps you are not fitted for each other at all. You know nothing of his mental or moral ideas, nothing of his family, or the atmosphere in which he was raised. It is very dangerous for a girl to be suddenly attracted by a glance of a look, and call it love. it is a sort of hypnotism which afterwards leads to an unwise marriage, and one or both of the parties discovering, too late, that a fatal mistake has been made. such marriages are the cause of many divorces. Just think – the man you marry, you must live with 365 days every year. You sit at the table with him three times a day. You introduce him to your family and friends. You must be companions and chums always. Are you proud of him? Marriage is so sacred that young people should give much serious thought and consideration to it before taking upon themselves the great responsibility that comes when entering wedlock.



  1. “First of all, get hold of yourself.” I love it. Thanks for sharing these.

    Comment by Tamary — June 11, 2009 @ 8:43 am

  2. Knit two hours a day?!?

    Wouldn’t that push a person over the edge from “dreadful at times” to absolutely certifiably mentally insane?

    Comment by Researcher — June 11, 2009 @ 9:01 am

  3. Wow, who knew that hairstyles can cause deafness?

    Comment by Tatiana — June 11, 2009 @ 9:06 am

  4. Just think – the man you marry, you must live with 365 days every year. You sit at the table with him three times a day. You introduce him to your family and friends.

    Boy, how times have changed…

    (Looking through my wife’s 450+ Facebook friends — all of whom she knows in real life — I barely know a third of them, and we’ve known each other over half our lives…)

    Comment by queuno — June 11, 2009 @ 9:22 am

  5. You should see me here, cracking up as I read your responses. These bits were selected from among many more possibilities, and you’re responding to these for the same reasons I did (who hasn’t wanted to tell somebody sometime to “get hold of yourself!”) — or for exactly the opposite (I find knitting relaxing and thought it would be cool to have doctor’s orders to take two hours out of every day to knit).

    Comment by Ardis Parshall — June 11, 2009 @ 10:03 am

  6. “Where can I have hair combings made into a gentleman’s watch chain?”

    Nothing says “bonds of affection” like hair chain.

    Comment by Edje Jeter — June 11, 2009 @ 10:24 am

  7. We need more “caring nurturers” out there who just tell folks: “Get hold of yourself”!

    The days of iron men and wooden ships, indeed.

    And deafness caused by hairstyle! I’ve seen hairstyles caused by dumbness.

    But, how disheartening to see that even in 1914 the proper pronunciation of kimono had been lost! Just 60 years after Commodore Perry had sailed his black ships into Tokyo Bay, and we were already ruining their language.

    Comment by Mark B. — June 11, 2009 @ 11:11 am

  8. I, too, was amused at the idea that a braided hairstyle would cause deafness. Girls of thirteen, today, don’t consider themselves as “girls” but as young women. And in our pioneer days, these same “girls” would be marrying at the age of fourteen, often times to much older men.

    Comment by Maurine — June 11, 2009 @ 3:10 pm

  9. In other words, Jemima – if he gave you a box of candy he’d already eaten the good ones out of, dump the chump.

    Comment by jeans — June 11, 2009 @ 3:14 pm

  10. I don’t know about that Maurine. Among my pioneer ancestors (1840-1869) the average age of first marriage was between 20.1 and 21.3; and that was with a few very young marriages bringing down the average. It happened, to be sure; but I think it was just tolerated and ultimately rare. Other than my ancestors, however, I have nothing with which to back that up.

    Comment by Bruce Crow — June 11, 2009 @ 3:48 pm

  11. Hey, where can I get that formula for blackheads?

    Comment by Steve C. — June 11, 2009 @ 3:51 pm

  12. So much here to think about.

    Even my children make me nervous.

    And some things don’t change much at all.

    However, the deafening hair styles was fun, and the thought that one should seek the advice of the general board about hairstyles was interesting.

    Also, the comment that a wife would be sharing meals three times a day with her husband, 365 days a year, certainly has changed. We’re still pretty good at dinners, but even breakfast is a long shot these days.

    Keep it up, Ardis. Who knows what other gems are waiting to be uncovered at the new Church History Library? Such fun!

    Comment by kevinf — June 11, 2009 @ 4:41 pm

  13. I love this feature, Ardis. And, I too find knitting incredibly relaxing. Oh, to have two hours a day to knit!

    Comment by Tracy M — June 11, 2009 @ 6:36 pm

  14. Dang! I wanted the blackhead formula.

    Comment by Jami — June 12, 2009 @ 6:42 pm

  15. Once again, much of this advice is wonderfully grounded and realistic (“Get a hold of yourself”, indeed.), even or perhaps especially given the changes in culture and society in the century since. Great stuff, Ardis; these are my favorite KAP posts. ..bruce..

    Comment by bfwebster — June 16, 2009 @ 10:52 am