Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » She Had a Question, 1918 (3)

She Had a Question, 1918 (3)

By: Ardis E. Parshall - October 29, 2010

More pressing problems and awesome answers from the “Girl Query” department of the Young Woman’s Journal, 1918:


What is the proper length for baby’s first clothes? – Dorothy

Clothes for a new baby are much shorter now than formerly. Twenty-three, twenty-seven and thirty inches, are the lengths most used. It is a matter of personal choice which one is used.


“Miss G.B.E.” – It is always proper to politely thank a gentleman for any courtesy extended.


“Country Girl.” – Red hands are usually due to the poor circulation of the blood, or perhaps to a chapped condition.

Have your clothing loose about the waist, neck and arm holes. Take proper, regular exercise to stimulate the flow of blood. For chapped hands there is nothing better than a mixture of bran and milk. Wash the hands in this several times per day, rinse dry and rub the tiniest bit of fat on the roughened surface. Mutton tallow is very good, as also Cuticura Ointment.


“Everine.” – One or both of the following books can be highly recommended in reply to your query: McFadden’s “Health, Beauty, and Sexuality,” price $1.50; “My System of Training for Women,” Mueller, price $1.00; Deseret Sunday School Union or Deseret News Book Stores.


“June.” – The presence of so many warts on your hands indicates a poor condition of the blood most likely. Try touching the warts several times a day with kerosene, or strong soda or salt water. If results are not obtained in a few weeks consult a physician.


How can I prevent my stockings from changing color when washed? – Dolores.

For black hosiery use one cup of salt to five quarts of water. Soak for a few minutes, then hang to drip dry in a shady place. To fix pink, red, or green, add one-half cupful of strong vinegar to two gallons of water, drying in same way. In rinsing black goods add a tablespoonful of salt to the water, or use very strong blueing water.


What will prevent macaroni and spaghetti from sticking to the pan when cooked in boiling water? – Mrs. H.J.B.,

Break the macaroni into a wire sieve and immerse in boiling water, simply lifting it out when done. Or cook in a double boiler, adding water. The latter will take longer.


When giving a theatre party of four or six, how would they be seated? – Beth.

In giving such a party, those who would be most interested in chatting together during the intermission are generally grouped together. If there is any preference as to seats, the older guests are given the best seats.


“Gertrude.” – In removing superfluous hairs, scars, etc., with the electric needle, the operation can only be done by an expert – one skilled in the use of the needle, and who understands the method of performing such treatments thoroughly.


Is it really necessary for a young man to ask a girl’s parents for her hand in marriage? – Mabel.

If the father is head of the house, a young man should ask his consent to the marriage of his daughter. It is usual if the father be willing for such marriage, that the mother is also agreeable. When a young man has paid attention so long to a girl without objections coming from the parents, the task of asking for her is much less embarrassing, as he is confident of approval.


Where do we find the original expression, “Man proposes but God disposes?” – Billie.

It is found in a book, “Imitations of Christ,” by Thomas Kempis, an ecclesiast of the fifteenth century. it is very like Provergs 16:90: “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.”


What is a “sapper”? A “cossack”? – Hetty.

A sapper is a soldier employed in digging trenches and tunnels for the protection of troops, or the undermining of an enemy’s fortifications. Cossack, one of a military tribe guarding certain frontiers of Russia, skilled as a cavalryman.


“Geraldine.” – The statue of liberty, a colossal bronze statue, executed by F. Bartholdi, a French sculptor, was presented to the United States by the people of France in commemoration of the good will existing between the two countries; and also to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of American independence. It stands on Bedloe Island, in New York harbor. It was placed in position in 1885, and was unveiled October 23, 1886. It is the loftiest statue in the world and cost France $200,000, was twelve years being prepared. America was three years preparing the pedestal. The statue represents a female figure holding a torch aloft, which is quite significant, or will be in the future. The torch is 305 feet, 11 inches above mean tide.


“Rosalie.” – (1) Joan of Arc, later known as “the Maid of Orleans,” was a real character. She was born between 1410 and 1412, in the village of Domremy, France. She was the daughter of well-to-do peasants, attending to the duties of a girl of her station. She was 13 years of age when she believed she heard an angel’s voice telling her to be good and holy and God would aid her. She frequently heard these voices, and later was told that she would lead the armies of France to victory, which she did.

(2) I know nothing of the fat-reducing tablets, therefore could not pass upon them. I certainly would not recommend them.


What is the origin of “Doughboys” and to whom particularly applied? – Hettie.

“Doughboys” is a term applied by cavalrymen who, seeing the infantry men trudging along in the mud in a “pressing-out-the-dough-with-the-feet” manner, gave them the name as a sort of joke to the amusement of other cavalrymen. Cannot say how old the term is, but it was used in the Civil War, as also in the Philippine campaign.


“A.B. Mina.” – The average weight for a girl your height is 115 pounds. Maximum 130. The weight of ordinary clothing is included.


How can I get rid of earth worms in house plants? – Mrs. M.J.B.

To one quart of soft water add one teaspoonful of liquid camphor, and water plants. The plants should be quite ready for water when it is applied.



  1. Oh my goodness. Is this Catherine Hurst recommending a book by Bernarr Macfadden? I can’t find a link to the book (pamphlet, perhaps?) to be able to tell whether this was good advice or not, but Macfadden was quite a colorful character. Here’s an article about him, complete with a picture with him posing as Michelangelo’s David.

    And I would guess that the answer to the question about the pasta has more to do with the quality of the noodles than the cooking technique.

    Comment by Researcher — October 29, 2010 @ 7:49 am

  2. Er, um, yeah, okay. Catherine couldn’t have known as much about Bernarr {snicker} as we now do, to recommend his work, could she?

    Thanks, Researcher. That was hilarious.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 29, 2010 @ 8:12 am

  3. It’s interesting that Ms. Hurst calls spaghetti “macaroni.” How else could you “break” it?

    (I suppose you could put a whole pile of elbow macaroni or ditalini on the chopping block and have at them with a mallet.)

    But, that’s great news about the good Bernarr Macfadden! A laugh is good for the digestion.

    Comment by Mark B. — October 29, 2010 @ 8:57 am

  4. I’ve been puzzled in general by the pasta of a hundred years ago. Besides always breaking macaroni, the recipes always direct that the stuff be boiled for a half hour or more. Obviously their macaroni and ours were two different species.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 29, 2010 @ 9:43 am

  5. Not only was Joan of Arc real, but James Martineau had her temple work done in the 1880s.

    Comment by J. Stapley — October 29, 2010 @ 10:01 am

  6. Or they’d never heard of my buddy Al Dente.

    And liked their macaroni mushy.

    Comment by Mark B. — October 29, 2010 @ 10:16 am

  7. The statue represents a female figure holding a torch aloft, which is quite significant, or will be in the future. How true, how true.

    Comment by Cliff — October 29, 2010 @ 11:45 am

  8. When I boil spaghetti or macaroni, i keep it from sticking to the pan by stirring occasionally. Or am I missing something? I can’t imagine trying to cook spaghetti noodles in a double boiler.

    And as for this statement:

    It is usual if the father be willing for such marriage, that the mother is also agreeable.

    Not always, I would guess. No constipation stories this time, but the variety of questions, including the ones obviously prompted by the war in Europe, is fascinating.

    My grandfather used to cure warts by buying them from you for a penny. Lots of warts, lots of pennies. Funny, but after some time, it seemed to work. At least I don’t have any now.

    Comment by kevinf — October 29, 2010 @ 12:44 pm

  9. Actually, I am impressed with the Bernarr Macfadden recommendation. He was way ahead of his time and the advise would have been along the lines of the most advanced for the times.

    He was a pioneer and possibly the father of what we term today as “wellness.” His line of thought was definitely a great contributing factor for many of the health and fitness standards that we still abide by today.

    Comment by Manuel — October 29, 2010 @ 1:29 pm

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