Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » She Had a Question, 1917 (3)

She Had a Question, 1917 (3)

By: Ardis E. Parshall - January 17, 2012

What questions were the girls sending Catherine Hurst of the Young Woman’s Journal in 1917?


“Nettie” – The “Rosary” is oftentimes sung in meeting.


“Mrs. T.B.” – If you still bite your fingernails, try dipping the ends of the fingers in a quinine solution or bitter aloe solution. Visit the manicure parlor once every two weeks for a time, until the nails begin to improve, after which manicure them yourself. Dip the finger tips in warm olive oil and rub, nightly. Wear canvas gloves when sweeping, dusting, etc. Use a good white soap or milk in the dishwater. Milk tends to soften the hands and nails. Oatmeal water will also improve the hands and nails.


Is there any way to clean white kid gloves, other than with gasoline? – V.E.

Before the discovery of gasoline, gloves were cleaned by washing in spirits of turpentine, in the same way that gasoline is now used.

Another method is to draw the gloves on the hand, dip a flannel cloth in benzine, allow it to become nearly dry, then rub the gloves. Or, dip a flannel cloth in skim milk, rub on white castile soap, and rub the soiled gloves lightly. “Thatcher glove cleaner” sold at most department stores in Salt Lake City, is a very good glove cleaner.


“Julia” – Rub the warts on the back of your hand several times daily with strong salt or sal soda water.


“Nellie” – There are many solutions and lotions recommended to remove freckles, the following being among the best: Grate fresh horseradish very fine, cover with fresh buttermilk, and let stand over night. Strain through cheese cloth and wash the face twice daily with the resulting liquor. Or, squeeze the juice of half a lemon into half a cup of water, and use as a face wash. Or, wash the face three times daily with a mixture of milk and bran. Do not allow your face to get the direct rays of the sun. Acids should not be used too frequently, as they have a tendency to impair the work of the pores of the skin.


What does a girl say to her partner when she has just finished a dance, and a second boy comes for the next dance? – Maxine.

Her partner should thank her for the dance just finished, and she merely nods and smiles an acknowledgment. Or, she may remark, “The pleasure was mutual.”


Please give me the name and address of a small, inexpensive book on needlework. – Mrs. Mac

“Needlecraft,” a small monthly magazine for twenty-five cents per year, gives all the new designs in crochet, tatting, embroidery, etc. Address, “Needlecraft,” Augusta, Maine.


Can you suggest some interesting books for small boys and girls. – Mother

Your letter came too late for the Christmas publication, but I herewith submit some very good books for children. “Favorite Fairy Tales Retold,” by Julia Darrow Cowles. All the tales portray the triumph of some moral quality, and the most deserving win the greatest prize. Price 75c. The “Red book” series, price 25c. “The Sandman Stories,” price $1.00. “The Trail of the Sandhill Stag,” by Seton. 50c. “Rob and His Friends,” 25c. “Beautiful Joe,” 35c. “The Way to the House of Santa Claus,” by Burnett. Price $1.00.


“Mary” – A spatula is a limber knife, used by housekeepers for the cleaning of bowls and utensils. It saves its price (50 cents) in a short time in the saving of materials. A pastry brush is a small brush similar to a paint brush, used for greasing pans, etc.


“Merle” – Vinegar or camphor diluted one-half with water will contract enlarged pores.


My oven burns on the bottom. Can you help me? – Young Wife

Cut a piece of wire door-screen to fit the oven exactly, and you are insured from further annoyance.


How can I make my lace curtains an ecru shade? – Dora

Dissolve some coperas in boiling water, and dip the curtains until you have the desired shade. It will not fade or wash out. Strong coffee or tea will also give an ecru shade.


“Black Eyes” – The wedding month prophecy you ask for will be mailed on receipt of stamped addressed envelope.


Why do we follow the customs of using eggs for Easter? Where did the custom first originate, and why do we color them? – Mayme

As Easter is the festival of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the exchanging of eggs is a symbol of resurrection or the renewal of life, and the revivification of nature. The “Feast of Eggs” is usually emblematic of the resurrection and a future life. On Easter day the people always saluted each other with a kiss and the salutation “He is risen,” to which the reply was, “He is risen indeed.” Many of the Easter observances are of pagan origin. The goddess Ostara or Eastre seems to have been the personification of the morning or east, and also of the opening year or spring. Way back in the early centuries various customs were celebrated on Easter – the festivities lasting eight days. After the 11th century, it was limited to three, and later to two days. This was a favorite time for performing the rite of baptism, alms were dispensed to the poor and needy, and slaves received their freedom at this time. The most characteristic rite and the one most widely followed through the centuries, was the exchanging of Easter eggs. They were usually stained of various colors with dye-woods or herbs, and sometimes used as amulets, sometimes eaten. Games were also played by striking them together. In some moorland parts of Scotland it used to be the custom for young people to go out early on “Pasch Sunday” and search for wild fowls’ eggs for breakfast, and it was considered very lucky to find them. We are told that the Persians, when they keep the festival of the solar new year, in March, mutually present each other with colored eggs. I am unable to give anything authentic as to why the eggs are colored, but one is led to think that the custom is quite true to nature. In the spring we have the beautiful colorings of the flowers, trees, grass, birds, butterflies with varied colored wings. All nature has put off the white robes of winter, and come out in beautiful colored garb, to a newness of life.


“Jennie” – The hymn “Sometime-Somewhere” was written by Ophelia G. Browning.


“A.B.H.G.” – You can have the mole removed by a reputable physician who understands how, or in the X-Ray Laboratory. Do not tamper with moles yourself.


Open the box of candy at any time most favorable to your friends and yourself.


“E.A.O.” – To clean your white kid shoes, use “Griffin Glace Kid Cream” or gasoline, or soap and water if you have the wash kid shoes. Dampen a cloth, rub on some white soap and rub the shoes lightly, after which use a clean cloth to polish.

To clean Panama hats, apply peroxide of hydrogen with a flannel cloth. Repeat if necessary. Or, make a suds of white soap and water and rub the hat with a nail brush inside and out. When clean, rinse in clear water, of the same temperature as the wash water, to which has been added a teaspoonful of ammonia to a quart of water. Then rinse well in two quarts of water to which has been added two tablespoonfuls of glycerine. Lay on a thick towel in the sun to dry. As it dries, pat into shape, turning it over to dry evenly. Or, scrub vigorously with equal parts of lemon juice and water. rinse in clear water and treat in same manner as given above.


Why is President Wilson Commander in Chief of the Army and navy? – Novice

The Constitution of the United States gives the president the power to direct the movements of the Army and navy, as Commander-in-Chief, with the advice of his cabinet and staff in times of war and peace. In emergencies he must have supreme executive authority.


“Mercy” – The condition of your scalp calls for treatment from a specialist. There I suggest you consult one of your best physicians, or a hair specialist, if there be one in your town.


“Brownie” – Bathe the arm pits several times a day with water to which has been added a teaspoonful of ammonia and the same quantity of salt to a quart of water. After which dust with a good talcum, or equal parts of French chalk and powdered alum. Avoid constipation.


“Bride-to-Be” – If the stuttering is a habit, you can overcome it by persistent effort and practice. Think before you speak. Enunciate slowly and distinctly. Practice composure and self-possession. Avoid excitement. If your trouble is a defect, consult a reputable physician.


“LaMona” – Queries to be answered in “next month’s Journal” must be in before the 1st of the preceding month.

In the marriage ceremony “salute your bride” indicates to salute with a kiss, and if the ring ceremony is performed, the ring is placed on the bride’s finger immediately following.


To remove the spots from your blue silk gown make a paste of gasoline and magnesia or French chalk and cover the spots. Let remain on several hours, then brush off.


“Jennie” – Most fruit stains can be removed from white goods if plenty of boiling water is used immediately, or before soap is used on them. Peach stains are the most difficult; to remove them, spread the stained part over a bowl and pour boiling water through the cloth. If this does not remove them, soak for a few minutes in weak Javelle water, or a solution of oxalic acid or chloride of lime water. The oxalic acid solution is made by adding one teaspoonful of acid to one pint of water. To make the Javelle water, put one-half pound of sal soda into one quart of boiling water, stir until dissolved, then add two ounces of chloride of lime, stir and let settle. Pour off the liquid, being careful not to get any of the powder out in the bottom. Put in a bottle and cork tightly and label. These acids are poison so be careful.



  1. In Ukraine, they give the same Easter salutation. I have wondered why we didn’t say anything similar in English – and now I know that it used to be in the vernacular. I learn new things here daily!

    Comment by mahana — January 17, 2012 @ 9:31 am

  2. Good, practical stuff. I love the homey Mormon religiosity.

    At least in my browser, some of the questions dont’ show up. There are orphan answers without questions.

    Comment by Adam G. — January 17, 2012 @ 10:09 am

  3. I’d particularly like to know what the question was for the “Rosary” answer.

    Comment by Adam G. — January 17, 2012 @ 10:10 am

  4. That’s the way they appear in the printed Journal columns, Adam — part of the fun is trying to imagine what in the world could possibly have elicited some of the orphan answers she gives.

    Another part of the fun, of course, is recoiling in horror from the breezy recommendation of poisons and explosives for everyday household use.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 17, 2012 @ 11:07 am

  5. To that point, Ardis, I wonder what on earth the “wedding month prophecy” bit is all about. It seems rather mystical for Sister Hurst.

    Comment by E. Wallace — January 17, 2012 @ 11:26 am

  6. I wondered about that, too, E. Because she was willing to send it privately, it couldn’t be anything at all occult or naughty or that she disapproved of in any way; I’m guessing that it was simply too lengthy to want to use it in her column. But as what it is — ? Dunno. Maybe something (a poem?) about brides who marry in January having this kind of a life, while those who marry in February looking forward to this other kind, or something like that?

    If any reader has an idea, I’d sure like to hear it.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 17, 2012 @ 11:32 am

  7. I used to have a neighbor that greeted me on Easter with “He is risen!” I had the vague sense that he was looking for a particular response, but didn’t know what the appropriate response might be. I’ll have to remember this in case I run into him on Easter again.

    Comment by lindberg — January 17, 2012 @ 11:43 am

  8. I was curious about the mention of the “hymn ‘Sometime – Somewhere'” so I did a bit of Web searching and found the following poem:

    Unanswered Prayer

    Unanswered yet the prayer your lips have pleaded,
    In agony of heart these many years?
    Does faith begin to fail? Is hope departing?
    And think you all in vain those falling tears?
    Say not the father hath not heard your prayer;
    You shall have your desire sometime, somewhere.

    Unanswered yet? Nay do not say ungranted;
    Perhaps your work is not yet wholly done.
    The work began when your first prayer was uttered,
    And God will finish what he has begun.
    If you will keep the incense burning there,
    His glory you shall see sometime, somewhere.

    Unanswered yet? Faith cannot be unanswered
    Her feet are firmly planted on the Rock;
    Amid the wildest storms she stands undaunted
    Nor quails before the loudest thunder shock.
    She knows omnipotence has heard her prayer,
    And cries, “It shall be done” -sometime, somewhere.

    -Miss Ophelia G. Browning

    Comment by lindberg — January 17, 2012 @ 11:48 am

  9. I did a Google search for “wedding month prophecy”, and didn’t turn up much of interest except for a website that claims that Prince William, through his mother Princess Diana, is a descendant of Cain, and is the Anti-Christ. I don’t think that is what Catherine Hurst was mailing out to her readers. I quit looking after that.

    Comment by kevinf — January 17, 2012 @ 12:30 pm

  10. No!!! Don’t do it!!

    (Clean your gloves with gasoline.)

    From a Findagrave entry I saw not long ago:

    Eugenia met a tragic death [a few weeks before she was to be married in 1911]. She was cleaning a pair of gloves with gasoline and had placed them on her hands to dry. A short time later, forgetting or not aware of the fumes from the fuel, she struck a match and ignited the gloves. She received burns on her hands and arms and died … at Holy Cross Hospital where her uncle, Creighton S— was the physician caring for her.

    Comment by Researcher — January 17, 2012 @ 12:46 pm

  11. lindberg, that’s one of my favorite hymns. It was in the brown hymnbook, and is still in the current Spanish-language one.

    Comment by The Other Clark — January 17, 2012 @ 12:56 pm

  12. Wonderful, lindberg — thanks for looking up the explanation of that response.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 17, 2012 @ 1:15 pm

  13. I think you’re right, kevinf, although it would have been completely awesome had that been the “prophecy” Catherine Hurst had in mind …

    Okay, okay! I was going to clean my gloves with gasoline tonight, Researcher, but you’ve convinced me that it’s an idea to leave a hundred years in the past!!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 17, 2012 @ 1:17 pm

  14. Note that the gasoline referred to is the “white gas” or “mineral spirits” sold today as fuel for Coleman camp stoves and cleaning paint brushes, without the additives of automobile fuels, (dyes, octane boosters, anti-knock compounds, ethanol, etc.) Still equally flammable, though.

    I was most repulsed by the freckle cure involving a horseradish poultice. Were freckles so embarrassing that it was better to smell like horseradish?

    Comment by The Other Clark — January 17, 2012 @ 1:27 pm

  15. The Other Clark, that horseradish cure does give new meaning to the phrase “That girl Nellie is hot!!!”

    Comment by kevinf — January 17, 2012 @ 2:07 pm

  16. Thanks, TOC (#11). I don’t recall ever singing that hymn before, but sure enough, it’s #286 in the 1950 LDS hymnbook.

    Comment by lindberg — January 17, 2012 @ 5:45 pm

  17. I’m just glad that Catherine Hurst was not a one-woman Supreme Court. The President must, in emergencies, have “supreme executive authority”???

    I’ll take that, so long as it’s qualified by “to the extent not inconsistent with the Constitution.”

    Comment by Mark B. — January 17, 2012 @ 6:33 pm

  18. “Open the box of candy at any time most favorable to your friends and yourself.”

    I love this. I want to put it on a sign–you know those ones that say things like Families are Forever and Love is Spoken Here? I much prefer ths quote. Good advice like this is hard to come by these days.

    Comment by Diana — January 18, 2012 @ 11:02 am

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