Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » She Had a Question, 1911 (3)

She Had a Question, 1911 (3)

By: Ardis E. Parshall - June 15, 2010

Warning: Don’t try these medical cures in 2010. And stop asking, “Does this make me look fat?”


To “Maud”: There have been a number of formulas given in the Journal on the care of the hair. There is no better tonic for the hair than sunshine. Sit out doors every day for half or three quarters of an hour. Loosen the hair and let the air blow through it and the sun shine on it. Airing and sunning the hair keeps it sweet and clean and is also good for the scalp. If you have any disease of the scalp this has a tendency to cure it, and make it healthy and active. Go without a hat as much as possible, using a parasol instead.


What can I do for a cold sore on my lip? – Viola. As soon as the sore appears wet the spot with liquid camphor, and cover with powdered subnitrate of bismuth. Camphor of itself will lessen the inflammation.


I have a little girl four years old who craves raw eggs; should I give them to her? – Mrs. S.B. A noted Australian physician calls attention to the value of uncooked eggs as food for growing children. Of all substances found in the animal organism, albumen seems to be the most directly concerned with its growth and development. Its value as a food is not sufficiently appreciated. In the feeding of children we should keep this in mind. In the white of the raw egg is found the most available form of albumen, and it can be used in the preparation of many foods for children. It is easily digested and is rapidly made use of by the muscle cells. The yoke of the egg contains fat and all children should have a certain amount of fat stored while growing.


To Lennie’s queries: (1) To make a good bran bag, add to a pint of bran one-half teacupful of bits of bland soap that have been powdered, and a tablespoonful of borax. This mixture can be divided and put into any convenient sized bag of white lawn or cheese cloth. (2) Cleansing the face several times a day with pure olive oil is splendid for dry skin and a sure preventive of wrinkles. Do not use soap on the face for awhile.


Please give recipe to remove orange stain from a silk dress. – Maple Leaf. Take a drop of diluted ammonia and wet the center of stain, and rub round and out from center very carefully.


(1) Is it proper for two girls to go to a dance alone at night? (2) Should a girl of sixteen summers receive visits from young men? (3) Is it proper, if by request of the girl, you accompany her and a young man to a dance? – Valentine. Much depends on conditions and the attitude of your parents. Generally speaking, however, you should have a chaperone. (2) No. She should wait at least one year before receiving such attention. (3) You should not accept the invitation unless the young man also asks for your company.


To a “Constant Reader”: The best method to keep the eyes bright is to go to bed early and get plenty of natural sleep. The eyes should be washed out every night with warm water to remove the dust of the day. For tired eyes, a cloth wet with distilled witch hazel, diluted with half water, laid on them at night is very beneficial. To correct the inflammation you mention, wash them with an astringent lotion made by adding ten grains of boric acid to one ounce of distilled water. If you will get a glass eye-cup you can treat them more satisfactorily. Fill the eye-cup half full of the lotion and hold it up quite near to the eye. Now lower the head and fit the cup to the eye socket. Slowly throw the head back, pressing the cup tightly against the eye socket. When the head is back far as it will go, wink the eye in the solution several times so that it may be bathed freely with the soothing fluid. Repeat with the other eye.


Please give me the origin of Quaker. – Delta. The origin of the name “Quakers” sprang from the lips of a local Justice Shallon, in 1650, and was a jibe at George Fox, who appearing before his worship, bade him and all others present, to “quake” on hearing the word of God. Originally the Society of Friends, on its foundation, in 1646, called themselves Seekers, because they sought the truth, after the manner of Nicodemus, who came to Christ by night.


To “L.R.” – f you have only received books and stationery, it will not be necessary to return them.


I have a number of brown patches on my face, also one or two moles; what can I do to remove them? – Grace. The brown patches or “liver spots” can be treated with mild bleaches, and also by giving attention to the liver and bathing frequently; but the moles should not be touched except by an expert. If they show signs of enlarging, consult a doctor. Most bleaches contain poison, but you might try some of the simple remedies. The juice of lemon, ripe tomato, or cucumber all contain bleaching properties. Apply the juice several times during the day and before retiring, allowing it to dry on. Peroxide of hydrogen is also a good bleach. I would call your attention to the article on “Constipation” in the September Journal.


How many members are there in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the present time? – A.Y. Approximately between four and five hundred thousand.


Please tell me how to wash and clean cut glass. – Susie You must remember that cut glass contracts and expands when subjected to changes in temperature. Taken from a hot washing to a col room will break a beautiful punch bowl or other piece. Great care is required in washing cut glass; water must not be too hot and do not use soap. A wooden tub or bowl with a folded towel in the bottom is best for the cleansing process. Add a few drops of ammonia or a pinch of borax to the water and brush with a stiff brush – a small hand brush will do; then rinse with clean water of the same temperature; brush each piece with a soft brush dipped in fine whiting. Wash this off and drain, then polish with a chamois or old linen. If you have cruets or bottles to clean, us warm water with ammonia in, and add small ices of potato peeling or some shot and shake gently. Rinse with clean water and polish. A strong solution of salt and vinegar is also good to clean bottles, adding a few grains of rock salt if you have it. if you will follow the above methods your glass will be glistening and bright, and will not become dull and discolored with age.


Who were the presents presidents of the United States during the wars since 1776, and how many accidental presidents have we had? – J.M.B. The presidents during the wars were Jefferson, Madison, Polk, Lincoln, and McKinley. There have been five accidental presidents: John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Andrew Johnson, Chester a. Arthur and Theodore Roosevelt.


To “H.J.J.” – Yes, it is quite proper to speak to the young man when you meet him.


I had the occasion to invite my gentleman friend to a social gathering at my ward. Was it courteous on my part to invite him to supper with me, after games and enjoyments, or was it his place to escort me with his own invitation. – Gladys. After receiving such courtesy from you, the young gentleman should surely have invited you to supper.


How will loss of sleep affect a girl? – A Mother. The nervous system is weakened very materially; the girl’s reasoning powers are affected, the eyes lose their brightness, and she feels dull and stupid generally. Often the habit of drinking tea and coffee is acquired. It is related that when Cervantes desired Don Quixote to lose his reason he made him sleep very little, and had him read a great deal. This weakened his brain and caused his judgment to become unsound.


Is it wrong for girls to ask questions about their personal appearance? – Jennie. Decidedly not. Every girl should use any legitimate means to improve her personal appearance. Generally whatever improves one’s personal appearance tends to improve her health. Attention to personal hygiene helps to prolong the life of an individual. It is not right to be vain and foolish, indulge in the use of cosmetics, and follow ridiculous fashions, which do not improve, butt but rather detract from, one’s personal appearance.


I am subjected to much exposure during the winter months. What can I do to feel moderately comfortable? – Jane. Your diet should consist largely of heat producing foods, such as eggs, nuts, fat meats, oatmeal, yellow cornbread, honey, sugar, etc. A cold bath to which a handful of salt has been added every morning with vigorous rubbing afterwards; if the cold bath shocks you massage well before getting into the bath, as this reduces the shock. Clothe your whole body evenly with warm clothing, shoes well soled, walk to and from your work and bathe the feet in salt water every night.


To “Amelia.” – Poor circulation causes your nose to redden quickly. You should improve your whole physical condition. Eat wholesome, nourishing food. Avoid meats, pastry, tea, coffee, sweets and condiments. Get plenty of refreshing sleep and exercise daily in the open air. Take tepid bath every morning, rubbing briskly afterwards. if you like the cold bath it will be even better. Bathe the nose in camphor water several times a day.


What is the meaning of Halcyon Days? – Celia. When we talk of our “halcyon days,” we refer to those that have been especially bright or restful. This is an ancient expression and owes its origin to the halcyon or king fisher, a bird which was supposed to build its nest on the water and lay its eggs about Christmas time, because of the calmness of the weather which was believed to prevail at this season of the year. Consequently the latter half of December came to be known as halcyon days, and this phrase in its figurative sense became fixed as signifying a period of rest, calm and contentment.


To “E.E.” – If you live where there is a laundry send your blankets there; it will only cost you fifty cents, and they will look and feel like new. You did not have enough cleansing fluid in the water when you washed them, to remove all the grease in the “filling.” When washing heavy blankets you need plenty of hot soapy water, with washing soda, borax or ammonia to soften it. Do not rub soap on the blankets.


How may a young girl rid herself of wrinkles on the forehead? – Bennie. You have undoubtedly formed the habit of frowning without cause. Try to overcome it. Rub the forehead daily with cold cream or sweet oil, rubbing the opposite way of the sprinkle. If you will send a stamped addressed envelope, I will mail you instructions for facial massage.


In reply to M.A. (1) I think your health would be just about the same whether you ironed them or not. (2) Brush the teeth at least once a day – three times is better – with a good dentifrice or clear water. Brushing with strong salt water once or twice a week is very good. (3) When you have a disagreeable odor from the mouth, either the teeth or digestive organs are at fault. If your teeth are decayed, consult a good dentist at once. If not, something must be wrong with your digestive organs. Discover the cause and remedy it. Note the article on “Constipation” in Sept. journal.


No, it is not right to be forced to marry one whom you do not love. Much unhappiness would come to both of you.



  1. It is related that when Cervantes desired Don Quixote to lose his reason he made him sleep very little, and had him read a great deal. This weakened his brain and caused his judgment to become unsound.

    I am doomed!!

    There was a most infelicitous typo in the paragraph about asking about personal appearance. It rather reminds me of the immortal words of Rufus T. Firefly: “I can see you right now in the kitchen, bending over a hot stove. But I can’t see the stove.”

    And nothing like a cold bath, indeed, to make the miserable weather outside seem balmy in comparison! Egads!

    Jefferson a president (or was he a “present”?) during a war? The trouble with the Barbary pirates counted as a war back then? If so, what about the Indian wars? And, at last, some of those presidents were bigger accidents than others.

    Comment by Mark B. — June 15, 2010 @ 9:51 am

  2. Interesting. “Heat producing foods” is not a category we hear much of today. Reminds me of the way the Chinese describe foods (i.e. according to when you should eat them). Snake, for example, should be eaten in the winter as it will keep you warm.

    Comment by Bruce Crow — June 15, 2010 @ 10:11 am

  3. I never tire of reading these. Thanks.

    Comment by Hunter — June 15, 2010 @ 10:26 am

  4. Whenever I grow tired of explaining detail, I should tell people to consult the article on Constipation in the September Journal

    Comment by Paradox — June 15, 2010 @ 1:15 pm

  5. And luckily for you, Paradox, you can point people to that article at this link — I meant to link that in the OP and have now done so.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — June 15, 2010 @ 2:13 pm

  6. All we are missing is this small addition to the last question:

    No, it is not right to be forced to marry one whom you do not love. Much unhappiness would come to both of you. Note the article on constipation in the Sept. journal.

    And what the heck is a bran bag?

    Comment by kevinf — June 15, 2010 @ 4:47 pm

  7. Here’s a special edition of “kevinf Had a Question”:

    I think, am not absolutely sure, that a bran bag was used while bathing, or at least while washing the face, the way we might use a loofa or some chemical facial scrub today. A bag made of such loose-woven fabric as Mrs. Hurst describes would have allowed the rough texture of the bran to serve as an exfoliant while the soap lubricated and cleansed.

    But since all I know of early 20th century beauty techniques comes from these columns, don’t bet anything you can’t afford to lose on my supposition.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — June 15, 2010 @ 5:25 pm

  8. I think your health would be just about the same whether you ironed them or not.

    I really, really, really want to know what the question was—i seriously can’t figure out what it could have been.

    Comment by David B — June 16, 2010 @ 11:13 am

  9. Her bloomers, of course!

    Comment by Mark B. — June 16, 2010 @ 11:20 am

  10. Or bedsheets. I know several grandmotherly aged women who insist on ironing bedsheets. Why?? (Maybe they didn’t read Mrs. Hearst, and are still convinced their health will be affected…

    Comment by Clark — June 16, 2010 @ 3:34 pm

  11. “But since all I know of early 20th century beauty techniques comes from these columns, don’t bet anything you can’t afford to lose on my supposition.”

    My overtired brain read the last word as “suppository” and I was simply going to refer you to the article on Constipation in the September Journal.

    Comment by Chad Too — June 17, 2010 @ 10:54 pm

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