Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » She Had a Question, 1920

She Had a Question, 1920

By: Ardis E. Parshall - August 31, 2009

Wedding questions, Hawaiians, burns, and oily skin — is there nothing that Catherine Hurst cannot answer through the columns of The Young Woman’s Journal? (But I want to know whether “promiscuous” kissing can begin once the ring has been “cordially” accepted. Alas, I fear Catherine would decidedly disapprove.)

“Mary”. – Send your feather pillows and cusions to the laundry to be cleaned and renovated. The cost is minimal and they come back fluffy and full – better than new ones.


“Mrs. M.V.R.” – Yes, eggs and malted milk, or dairy milk, is fattening and strengthening, and should be very good for one in a rundown condition. Take them as often as you desire but drink slowly. At the same time you should take some sort of gentle exercise every day, and eat freely of green vegetables and fresh fruit. It will promote one’s health to take two or three spoonfuls of wheat bran cooked as porridge, with morning and evening meal. Chest raising exercises will develop the neck, back, and chest.


“Janice.” – The only thing I can recommend for the eyelashes and eyebrows is vaseline or some other fat. In general the less attention paid to these features the better. The practice of darkening the lids or lashes to deepen the color of the eye is very dangerous, as many of the preparations advertised to do this contain lead or other poisonous substances. Do not tamper with the eyes; they are too valuable.


“Ruth.” – To clean and tighten the seats of your cane-bottomed chairs, first blow the dust of the crevices with a bicycle pump, or something similar. Make a good suds and to one gallon add half a cupful of salt. Apply the suds with a scrubbing brush to both sides so that the cane is well soaked. Rinse, and place out of doors in a shady spot to dry. The cane will be clean, firm, and tight.


“Perplexed Mother.” – There is nothing better to interest little “tots” than “Mother Goose” rhymes; but if you prefer something else, get “Come Play with Me,” by Olive B. Miller, price 50 cents, Deseret News or S.S. Union Book Store. The little poems that compose this volume are taken from the natural plays of children. They reflect the thought and feelings of the little ones, and give the childish meaning of playthings, furniture, flowers, birds, etc., in a delightful way to interest the young child.


“Marge.” – To revive the color of your faded plush coat, first, dust thoroughly, using for this purpose an old piece of rolled red crepe or similar material, then brush slightly with a sponge dipped in chloroform.


Why does my pastry shrink in the plate when I bake a crust for lemon or cream pie? Mrs. S.

Your oven is not hot enough to cook the paste before the shortening melts, thus allowing the flour to gather together. You see, one-fourth of the mass is shortening.


“Dora.” – To be sure, your rubbers wear out quickly unless they are cared for. Do not put them near a hot stove or steam pipe, as the heat will make them crack. If they are left out doors exposed to sunlight and heat, they will crack; so also will freezing make them brittle, and crack when put on.

Do not wear low-heeled rubbers with high-healed shoes, nor vice versa, or they will soon wear out at the heels.


“Edith.” – Whispering Gallery is the name given to a number of galleries on the interior of domed buildings, which from their elliptical or circular form possess a peculiar echo, transmitting faint sounds with great intensity to distant points. The most noted of such is in the cupola of St. Paul, London, where a low whisper uttered near one wall may be distinctly heard at the opposite wall 108 feet distant.


“Novice.” – The ring is given and cordially accepted at any time after the engagement is decided upon.


“Naomi.” – Yes, it is all right to have both a wedding cake and bride’s cake. The ceremony of the bride’s cake is simply for the bride to cut the first piece, then some other member of the family finishes during the ice cream course, and each guest must have a piece. The wedding cake has been cut and wrapped in tissue paper, tied with baby ribbon, and each guest is given a piece upon his departure.


“Mrs. M.G.” – There are so many remedies for burns and scalds, and as these accidents are so unexpected, the most simple are easiest to remember. Plunging the burned surface into cold water is one effective means. This is all sufficient if the burn is trifling and causes no blister. If it cannot be put in cold water apply a cold compress of several folds of linen dipped in cold water, into which has been dissolved a little carbonate of soda, to be renewed every 15 minutes until the pain ceases. Of all applications for a burn there is nothing better than a simple covering of wheat flour. This is always at hand, requires no skill in using, and produces wonderful results. The moisture produced by a burn is at once absorbed by the flour, and forms a paste which shuts out the air. Or, cover with molasses and dust with flour. Lime water beaten up with linseed or olive oil – one part of lime water to two parts oil – is another remedy. A poultice of slippery elm bark and linseed oil, soon arrests the suffering of one badly burned. Where the skin has been burnt off, or scalded badly, immerse the parts in new milk, which has been known to give instant relief. They should be kept thus until the fire has been drawn out.


How can we trace the Hawaiians back to the Nephites? There is nothing definite recorded, but from the accounts in the Book of Mormon, Alma 63:5-10, of the ships that were “launched forth into the west sea,” and did not return, the theory has generally been that they must have put in to Hawaii.


“Nancy.” – The oily skin is due to poor circulation, insufficient outdoor exercise, and perhaps wrong diet. To remedy the condition, stimulate the flow of blood to the face by regular outdoor exercise – walking briskly and deep breathing are both good – daily bating of the whole body, followed by a vigorous rubbing, and dashing cold water on the face every morning until the skin glows and looks ruddy and red. Massage with a good cold cream every night, wiping off well with a soft towel. Pay particular attention to the diet, avoiding pastry, condiments, pickles, and meat.


Is there any way to use lemon and orange peel after the juice has been extracted? – Bernice.

Bits of lemon and orange peel make a nice perfume for the bath water, also excellent for softening the water used for shampooing, and are highly recommended as a complexion beautifier, by putting in the face water.


“Pansy.” – Zane Grey has written a number of books relative to frontier and pioneer life in the west. The one you mention I have not read, therefore could not pass upon it. Our reading course for 1920-21 will soon be published. For further information send stamped addressed envelope.


“June.” – Yes, the parents of the bride-elect order, pay for, and send out the wedding invitations from two to four weeks in advance of the date set for the marriage. The expenses of the wedding reception are also paid for by the parents of the lady concerned. If the reception is to be limited to a select number, the bride-elect confers with the groom-elect or his mother, and they decide how many of his intimate friends or relatives must be included in the wedding celebration. A girl should always feel to acquiesce in the wishes or opinion of her parents as to the expenditure for the wedding. The groom pays only the expense of the ceremony, for the bride’s bouquet, and the ring.

Yes, the bride must always acknowledge in writing, personally, and immediately, her thanks for any gifts received. Telephone or by proxy is not acceptable, and indicates a dearth of appreciation.

When attending a wedding reception, guests may linger from ten minutes to one and one-half hours. Only the immediate family and one or two intimate friends remain longer.

For a morning wedding the ceremony is performed before or at twelve o’clock, the “breakfast” following immediately; the groom wearing a traveling suit of blue serge or brown, the bride her traveling costume, removing her gloves only.


“Carol.” – Washing the face with buttermilk and lemon juice will help to banish freckles. Send stamped, addressed envelope for reply to other query.


“Cora.” – The acknowledgment can be mutual with just a bow and smile. There is nothing improper in recognizing your classmates when you meet them.


“Genevieve.” – For the excessive perspiration bathe the armpits and hands with a solution of water and common baking soda, or with witch-hazel and alum – one-third teaspoonful of powdered alum to six ounces of witch-hazel. or, take equal parts powdered alum and powdered borax and apply to the palms of the hands.


“Ione.” – It rests with the young man himself. The only way is to stop smoking. There can be no half way. It would be better not to engage yourself to the young man until his return. You are very young to assume such an obligation, and will be more mature in two or three years, therefore decidedly better able to choose.


“M.B.” – No, dear, do not accept presents, other than flowers or candy, from your gentleman friend. Your friendship will be more lasting, and you more independent as presents imply obligations.


Please tell me how long a wedding veil should be, also which is an appropriate bouquet for a bride. – A.M.B.

It can fall to the edge of the dress, or can be a train, as both are in favor at present. The dressmaker usually cuts the veil when the dress is being tried on, shaping it to the curve properly, and plaiting it on the head under a wreath or spray of orange blossoms. Bride roses are beautiful, but lilies-of-the-valley, daisies, carnations, or white lilacs can be used and are very pretty.


I am not acquainted with the bride, but am with the bridegroom, who is my friend. To whom should I send my present? – Jule.

Anything personally intended for the groom could be sent to his address, but the bride usually receives all the presents, and it is no less a compliment to the groom for his bride to receive them than were he the recipient.



  1. As usual, a lot of good advice here. But the burn care advice is really, really bad (though in 1920 it was state of the art I’m sure.)

    The bit about Hawaii is…interesting, is that still ‘doctrine’?

    Comment by Doug Hudson — August 31, 2009 @ 8:18 am

  2. Yeah, we should probably put a caveat next to any dangerous medical advice …

    The Tuamotus and Sandwich Islands were among the first and most successful foreign missions, which naturally led 19th century Mormons to look for an explanation in their “believing blood” — the assumption that they were literal descendants of Israel. The verses about Hagoth and his ships seemed to explain well how Israelite blood was found so strongly on the islands. I can’t remember if I’ve ever been “taught” that idea as dctrine — I don’t think it comes up in the regular cycle of Book of Mormon studies — but it does seem to be “in the air” of Mormonism and has certainly appeared as speculation or assumption in numbers of respectable books and magazine articles. (Searching “hagoth” at brings up a couple of dozen hits, some simple references to the Book of Mormon verses but others referring to the South Sea islanders as being descendants of Lehi — Heber J. Grant mentioned that in his dedicatory prayer of the Hawaiian Temple, for instance). But on the whole, I think it is best described as assumption or speculation, rather than doctrine.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — August 31, 2009 @ 8:42 am

  3. I thought it quaint how she describes that the wedding cake should be cut into pieces, wrapped in tissue paper, “tied with baby ribbon, and each guest is given a piece upon his departure.” In this day and age of pre-made industrial-sized Costco cakes, it would seem anachronistic to make such a fuss over a piece of cake. I’m assuming that, in 1920, it was much more likely that the wedding cake would have been homemade (or at least unique), and therefore a piece to take home would have been a prized catch.

    So, Ardis, when are we going to hear more about this Catherine Hurst? She continues to impress. I’d like to know more about her. Was she an understated Ann Landers-type? Or a larger-than-life “officious intermeddler”? Please advise. (Do I need to send in a self-addressed envelope?)

    Comment by Hunter — August 31, 2009 @ 8:45 am

  4. Pres. Kimball gave his opinion that the Maoris were decendants of Hagoth as well. (Quote is in the thick BoM manual. I can find the exact source if anyone cares.)

    Comment by Clark — August 31, 2009 @ 9:03 am

  5. Oh, and don’t forget that for many years, polynesian dancers were included as part of BYU’s “Lamanite Generation” dance troupe. (I think that name has been done away with entirely these days.)

    Comment by Clark — August 31, 2009 @ 9:04 am

  6. Hunter, I’ve got a incredible wedding cake recipe somewhere, used by Susa Young Gates to bake her daughter’s cake at about this time, IIRC. I’ll have to find and post it … and then you’ll know what a catch it would have been!

    I poked around a little looking for Catherine Hurst without finding her in the obvious places. She’s going to take some digging, but yes, she certainly does deserve to be known, after all the fun she’s given us. With or without a SASE.

    Clark, don’t they call that troupe “Tribe of Many Feathers” now? or was that it’s pre-“Lamanite Generation” name?

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — August 31, 2009 @ 9:27 am

  7. I love the idea of being able to eat some cake from a SYG recipe! The idea is enticing not only because I ABSOLUTELY LOFF cake, but because it would be a really cool way to connect with the past. (Kinda like listening to music performed by authentic period instruments or music played with a sensitivity to performance practice has the ability to transport the listener back in time.) Hope you find it sometime. Thanks.

    Comment by Hunter — August 31, 2009 @ 10:17 am

  8. The Lamanite Generation are now called Living Legends – see for a bit more detail.

    Comment by Alison — August 31, 2009 @ 10:50 am

  9. Thanks for rescuing my lazy self, Alison!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — August 31, 2009 @ 11:08 am

  10. I read the whole list and didn’t see a word about promiscuous kissing.

    But I must say I’m intrigued by the “Chest raising exercises”.

    Did they work?

    Comment by Mark B. — August 31, 2009 @ 1:43 pm

  11. … he asks so innocently.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — August 31, 2009 @ 1:53 pm

  12. I notice that P.W. Parkinson’s Utah Woolley Family claims that Catherine Hurst was a pen name used by Catherine Adella Woolley Eardley. FWIW.

    Comment by Justin — August 31, 2009 @ 2:02 pm

  13. Justin, we’ve missed you around these parts lately — what a way to announce your return! FWIW = millions. Thanks.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — August 31, 2009 @ 2:09 pm

  14. Very cool, Justin.

    I haven’t had much luck with blind baking pie crusts. I’ll have to take her suggestion and bake at a hotter temperature. It’s a skill I should have learned (but didn’t) from my grandmother who usually had a baked pie crust in the house in case of unexpected company.

    Hmm. Whether to start with lemon meringue or strawberry or fresh peach or baked alaska…

    Comment by Researcher — August 31, 2009 @ 7:04 pm

  15. Mmmmmm … peach pie …

    /s/ channeling my inner Homer

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — August 31, 2009 @ 7:40 pm

  16. Interesting info on Hawaii and Mormons, thanks.

    Comment by Doug Hudson — September 1, 2009 @ 5:44 am

  17. I love that the name “Catherine Hurst” might have been a pen name. That’s so great. The plot thickens . . .

    Comment by Hunter — September 1, 2009 @ 8:51 am

  18. Thicker than you can guess, Hunter … Justin’s clue ties this in a minor (so far) way to an earlier Keepa post and to my own family history …

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — September 1, 2009 @ 8:57 am

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