Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » What Latter-day Saint Women Should Know, 1906 (II)

What Latter-day Saint Women Should Know, 1906 (II)

By: Ardis E. Parshall - December 30, 2009

Bits and pieces addressed to Latter-day Saint women in 1906:

Duties of the Tenant

It is the duty of each family to keep the home clean and beautiful. No man is too poor to keep his place clear of weeds and rubbish. And no one should excuse himself for living in a place that is run down and dirty because he rents from someone else. The filth left by tenants has caused dismay in the heart of many a landowner; and, too, the neglect of tenants in general prevents most landlords from beautifying their property to any great extent. Often the lawn and trees, to say nothing of flowers, are permitted to die for lack of a little care, when ten minutes a day would keep them alive and flourishing. The wilful waste and selfishness begotten in the characters of many renters is the most potent argument against living in a rented house. Heaven shield us from the habit of neglecting to do what is right, simply because someone else may be benefitted by the act.


The art of home-making belongs to woman and upon her knowledge of the intricate art of good housekeeping depends the comfort and prosperity of the family. Ignorance of cooking, and bad management induce want, illness and bad temper.

There are two extremes in house keeping that should be avoided. One is an exactness of order and neatness that is cold and mechanical and allows of no unbending, no relaxation of its rigidness; the other is a lack of order and system that results in confusion.

Where the mother has to be “mistress and maid” and has to perform the innumerable details of house keeping, it is impossible for her to give the thought and care necessary for all the needs of husband, children, religious and social duties, and in addition to this give the care that is due to her health and personal appearance. How may this condition be helped?

First, simplify the work as much as possible. The nearer we return to the simple, natural or primitive life, avoiding the unwholesome luxuries that come with modern civilization, the healthier and stronger we will be and the more time we will have to devote to our true life work of making ourselves and helping others to be better, happier and wiser.

Another great help to lighten the mother’s burden would be for the girls to choose some part of the work and give it willing, cheerful, thoughtful service. Remember, girls, you will have the care of a home of your own, you will be responsible for its success or failure. it will be much easier for you to make a home if you learn how by helping first.

Suitability of Dress

A modest woman will dress modestly; a really refined and intelligent woman will bear the marks of careful selection whether at home or abroad.

Many of the fads and fancies which become the rage are introduced by those, the mention of whose name and purpose would bring the blush of shame to the cheeks of others who are often the first to adopt them.

Fashions are accepted without thought of how or where they originated and, when they are not in harmony with good taste and modesty, will bring unfavorable comment upon those who follow them.

Dresses which are to be worn on the street should be characterized by a complete absence of any feature that would draw special attention to the wearer. Because people turn to look is not always proof that they are admiring.

Useful Hints

Go to bed early; rise early; in the meantime keep busy and do not forget to do more for others than for yourself. For sleeplessness get up and walk about the room or out of doors, rub the limbs briskly for a minute then lie down and imitate the breathing of some one who is asleep.

Be sure the sleeping rooms are airy and the bedding frequently put where the direct rays of the sun will shine upon it.

A daily bath is essential to health and comfort during warm weather. For children and delicate people the sponge bath is more invigorating than getting into the water and should be taken midway between meals. A child who is allowed to sit in a tub of water every morning and appears chilly when taken out, if given its breakfast soon after will not be so robust as with the other treatment.

The Best Kind of Shortening

To one quart of rendered beef suet add one teacup of olive oil; keep covered in a bowl or jar.

The Broom

Dip the broom in a clean hot suds once a week and hang it up or stand on handle to dry. This will make it wear much longer.


To cook parsnips, cover with boiling water, add salt five minutes before taking up, take out of water with fork and lay in heated dish, spread with butter and a few spoonfuls of cream. A little more salt may be needed to season cream.

Or, take from water, put in oven with meat drippings to brown, or dip in batter and fry brown. Make batter with one egg, three tablespoons of water, one-half teaspoon baking powder, pinch of salt.

Who Has Time for Service?

Twenty-four hours a day, in which to eat, sleep, play and do the world’s work! “I am tired, I am busy,” is the cry on this hand and that. Who has time to help? One who gains it by shirking? To live through unimproved hours is fatiguing; idle people as a rule are more tired than workers. Toilers learn to rest themselves by a change of work. They increase speed by activity and system, and learn to omit non-essentials. Therefore, we ma expect that the world’s best services will be done by busy people.


A poet is one who sees beauty and rhythm in the universe and can express it in rhythmical language; but if he expresses that beauty and rhythm by form, color or sound he becomes thereby a sculptor, painter, or musician.

As to the benefits the world has derived from poetry, they are incalculable. it would be difficult to conceive what would be the moral condition of the world if Dante, Shakespeare, Milton, Raphael and Michael Angelo had not existed and if the Bible had not been translated. Moses, Job, David, Solomon and Isaiah are poets and the New Testament is full of the most vivid poetry.


The matter of present-giving threatens to become the terror of civilized society. Christmas and weddings have been turned into a sort of highway “stand-and-deliver” proposition, which so antagonizes the proper sentiment of the best part of the community, that a revolution seems to be setting in, and the good old custom of surprising loved ones with gifts may be turned into a surprise party where no one comes, and where there is no party, and no gifts are given.

The man or woman who gives a gift because he or she thinks the occasion demands it, or it is expected, has done an act which wounds the spirit of both giver and receiver, and the soul is cankered by such an act.

Self-respecting girls will put on their wedding cards, “No presents received.” This is done by many of the wealthiest, and best people of the world, and at home. Such a legend will not prevent your parents, nor nearest relatives from giving you a gift, where they are able and willing to do so; and it enables your friends to come to your wedding without feeling, as some express it, that “so much a head” is charged for invitations.


It is quite as important to pay attention to sanitary rules in dish washing as it is to be careful as to the purity of drinking. The dish cloth should be thoroughly washed with soap, rinsed with boiling water and hung where it will dry quickly to prevent souring and an offensive smell. Always have a separate cloth for washing milk pans, pails, churns, etc., and keep it as white as milk. There should also be another cloth besides the one used for dishes for kettles and stove ware. In cleaning up dishes for washing, use a piece of paper crumpled up to brush crumbs and food from plates; it is quicker and does away with the harsh sound of scraping with a knife.

Be Not Unequally Yoked

Experience teaches that the greatest happiness in marriage comes only where there is a unity of purpose. Some say, “Oh! we’ll leave religion out of the question.” But there comes a day when they cannot. The religion of the Latter-day Saints is so much a part of their lives that they cannot lay it aside. It enters into almost every thought and act, and sooner or later they waken up to this. Then comes the struggle and the rending of heartstrings. The child of the covenant realizes, alas! so late! that he has cut himself off from many, many blessings – the most precious part of life.

Standard of Amusements

The standard of home and married life is fallen so low with some people that we have much presented in our theaters that no self-respecting, modest boy or girl should tolerate for a moment. It would be much better to find amusement at home among your friends, than to have your sensibilities stung and scarred by that which is vulgar and degrading.

Ideal of Marriage

As a wife and mother your ideal should be marriage in the temple to a man justly entitled to go there. You should be fully cognizant of the responsibilities assumed and the blessing attendant upon their proper discharge.

You should appreciate the blessing of children and resolve to accept wifehood and motherhood at its highest, noblest estimate and bear children with joy – realizing that the building of tabernacles of flesh, perfect in form, vigorous and healthy, influenced by holy thought and fine feelings is the most important and beautiful work a woman can do.



  1. I spy some ‘modern’ thinking in there-insomniacs imitating the breathing of one who is asleep, the advice on dish cloths,and so on, although taking a bath ‘midway between meals’ has me beat!


    Comment by Anne (U.K) — December 30, 2009 @ 7:28 am

  2. So slumlords can blame it on the renters… Provo slumlords must still be living in 1906 (OK, that actually makes sense!).

    Comment by queuno — December 30, 2009 @ 10:21 am

  3. Apropos slumlords — My grandparents rented a home on SLC’s west side in the mid-1920s. Along with the general disrepair of the house, the barren yard was riddled with tunnels dug by the boys who had lived there previously, and who had lined their tunnels with sheets of corrugated iron. My grandfather spent months digging that up and hauling away the rubbish and fixing the house, and my grandmother, with green thumbs up to her elbows, worked just as hard landscaping the grounds.Whereupon the landlord raised the rent, because the property was worth so much more now.

    On the other hand, I wouldn’t want to be a landlord, given the habits of so many of those I’ve shared a roof with. Ugh.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — December 30, 2009 @ 10:54 am

  4. I was a landlord for about three months while bridging from the first home we owned in Taylorsville, UT, to a newer home in Kaysville. It was truly one of the worst experiences of my life, and I ended up evicting a young couple with a two week old baby. They were renting from me while they arranged financing to buy our home (they told me), but then made no payments after the first month’s rent, didn’t pay the utilities, let the lawn die, never took out the trash or did any cleaning in the house, all the while working with the real estate agent on another house somewhere else, without informing me. I vowed never to be a landlord again.

    On the other hand, my only experience renting from a slumlord was when my daughter attended Ricks College (pre-BYU-ID). She lived in an apartment in an old house that had been divided up into apartments, and was one of several on the same street owned by the same individual. The room she and her roommate shared was a basement room with no windows, which I believe was a code violation. While we were there visiting one weekend, a leaky pipe started dripping through the sheetrock on the ceiling and on to a computer and some books on one of the girls desks. They had been trying to get the landlord to come and look at it for a couple of days, so I took a quick look. When I touched the soaked sheetrock, a big chunk fell out, revealing a bad pipe joint that had been wrapped with duct tape, and a small cereal bowl had been taped underneath the joint to catch the leaks. It turns out that the landlord had done a quick repair a year or two before and sealed it back up with the bowl still inside.

    This landlord had been notoriously unresponsive to many of the girls living in those apartments on that street, and when some of them went to the housing board to complain, he turned out to be chairman of the housing board that regulated and oversaw approved housing.

    He was also in the bishopric of the student ward that my daughter attended, and used to get mad if the girls didn’t call him “Brother xxxxx” during the week. I told my daughter he was “Brother xxxxx” at church and church activities, but when she dealt with him as the landlord, he was “Mister xxxxxx”, to avoid confusion.

    For her second year, she found different housing, and was much happier.

    I’ve been on both sides, and didn’t enjoy either experience.

    Comment by kevinf — December 30, 2009 @ 11:28 am

  5. Ardis — this is lovely and timely advice! I think following some of these messages today would be well worth it. One that struck me funny was the one that says:

    Many of the fads and fancies which become the rage are introduced by those, the mention of whose name and purpose would bring the blush of shame to the cheeks of others who are often the first to adopt them.

    This reminded me of a conversation I had this afternoon when a friend called her daughter’s favorite store the “prostitute shop”, since so many of the fashions looked like they were inspired by “women of ill repute.” Sounds like nothing has changed?

    Comment by meems — December 30, 2009 @ 10:55 pm

  6. That’s what’s so fascinating to me, meems — people, on the whole, don’t change, no matter how much we change our surroundings!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — December 31, 2009 @ 7:06 am

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