Hallowe'en In olden times, November first was known as All Hallow's Day. In some cultures, it was a time to celebrate the end of summer. In other cultures, it was a time to remember the dearly departed. October 31st was known as All Hallow's Eve, or Hallowe'en. On this night, the spirits of the dead were said to walk the earth. People dressed in scary costumes to ward off the spirits.
By the 1910s, Halloween was strictly a fun holiday for young people. At Halloween parties, guests enjoyed seasonal activities like bobbing for apples and building bonfires. Refreshments included donuts, apples, popcorn and a cider keg. Revelers dressed in homemade costumes such as scarecrows, tramps, ghosts and witches.
Some activities could be quite spooky, especially the parlor games that were a part of every Halloween party. The goal of most Halloween parlor games was to predict romance. The rules were simple....recite a spell or perform a specific action, and the identity of your "true love" would be revealed to you.
Mirrors were a big part of Halloween folklore. In many games, the image of your true love would supposedly be revealed in a mirror.
Trick-or-treating wasn't common yet, but playing pranks certainly was! The outhouse was the subject of most pranks. In the morning, it might be tipped over, or it might be halfway down the street blocking the door of the local drugstore! Soaping windows, removing gates and lifting buggies onto the schoolhouse roof were also common.
Decoration Day In the 1860s, Decoration Day was created by various civic groups to honor Civil War soldiers who had fallen in battle. By the 1890s, each state had established an official Decoration Day or Confederate Decoration Day. In the 1910s, the holiday was also known as Memorial Day and had expanded in some areas to include veterans from other wars.
Typical Decoration Day activities included picnics, prayers, speeches and stirring music from brass bands and glee clubs. Old soldiers took their faded uniforms out of mothballs and paraded down the street, accompanied by patriotic marches and the cheers of the townspeople. At the local cemetery, girls in white dresses adorned military graves with wreathes of flowers.
honoring our parents In 1907, a small service was held in a West Virginia church to honor local mothers and the institution of motherhood. The following year, official Mother's Day celebrations were held in the same location and at Wanamaker's Department Store in Philadelphia. By 1911, every state in the union had made the occasion an official state holiday. It became a national holiday in 1914.
The first Father's Day was celebrated in 1910. Although it wasn't a national holiday yet, its observance spread throughout the country during this decade.
Christmas Christmas trees became increasingly popular in the 1910s. Just 25 percent of American families decorated a tree in 1910, but by 1920 the practice was widespread. Typical decorations included frosted glass balls, lithographed paper figures, tinsel ornaments, peppermint canes, stockings, small toys, glass birds and icicles made of glass or twisted tin. The branches were draped with thin tinsel garland and strings of glass beads. Icicle tinsel was made of expensive shredded silver and was used sparingly, if at all.
Colored light bulbs for Christmas trees were introduced in 1890. The first complete lighting outfits went on sale in 1903. In the 1910s, a typical outfit featured round or pear-shaped bulbs with prominent exhaust tips and a plug that screwed directly into a stationary light fixture. If more than one festoon was used, a junction box was required to connect them.
Figural lights were also popular. These whimsical bulbs were made of painted glass or celluloid and were shaped like fruits, flowers, birds and various holiday characters. Electric lights were still quite expensive in the 1910s and could not be used if a home lacked electricity. Consequently, many trees were still lit with candles during this time.
If you didn't have a parlor tree, a public lighting display provided a welcome dose of holiday cheer. The practice of decorating a community tree with electric lights began in 1904. By 1914, over 300 cities in the United States had a holiday display featuring a lighted tree as the centerpiece. Many shop owners also used electric Christmas lights to decorate their store windows.
A YOUNG MAN'S NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS FOR 1917 * Cut down cigar bill one-half * Spend less on clothes from the tailor * Cultivate friends who pay their own way * Woo and wed a good, noble woman * Take water instead of wine * Shake dimes in my pocket instead of dice * Write at least once a week to Mother * Cut out costly dinners at restaurants ----------1917 small town newspaper
Who is my true love? 1. Peel an apple, making sure the peel remains in one piece 2. Throw peel over shoulder 3. The shape that is formed when the peel hits the ground will reveal the initial of your true love's name
Santa's attire and method of transportation varied widely in the 1910s. Illustrations of the time showed him wearing a fur robe, donning a modern red suit, flying in a reindeer sleigh and traveling by foot with a lantern.
dime novels Dime novels were adventure stories published in softcover format. Each story belonged to a series, and each series released a new story on a weekly or monthly basis.
When they were introduced in the 1860s, dime novels featured wild west stories written for adults. By the 1910s, the books were aimed at a younger audience and the topics had expanded to include tales of mystery, hard work, athletics, intrigue, thrift and virtue. Wild west stories were still popular, although they now glorified a way of life that no longer existed.
for the kids The book series was extremely popular in the 1910s. Many titles were published by the Stratemeyer Syndicate, which created a formula for each series and hired authors to write the stories under pen names.
Automobiles, airplanes, wireless, baseball, camping, movies....the fads of the day all made their way into children's books. In 1911, Tom Swift And His Wireless Message, Or The Castaways Of Earthquake Island was the first Stratemeyer book with a wireless theme. The Motor Boys and Motor Maids series featured stories of children having adventures with their cars.
The first Oz book, The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz, was written by L. Frank Baum and was published in 1900. Baum wrote 13 additional Oz books before his death in 1919.
Public education entered a period of transition in the 1910s. Our society was coming to regard education as a necessity rather than a luxury, and some changes were being made.
more kindergartens The first privately-owned and charity-supported kindergartens were established in the 1850s. In the 1870s, some public school systems began to include kindergartens in their curriculum. By 1898, there were 4,000 public kindergartens in America. In the 1910s, the National Congress Of Mothers & Parent-Teacher Associations (PTA) campaigned for the adoption of kindergarten by all public school systems.
nutrition for all At the turn of the century, 34 percent of city children left for school with little or no breakfast. Most likely an equal number of children couldn't afford a proper lunch. In 1894, the Boston school system was the first to serve free or discounted lunches to children. By 1912, there were similar programs in 40 cities. The PTA was instrumental in setting up many of these penny kitchens.
junior high In the 1900s, educators began to regard adolescence as a separate stage in life. In the 1910s, this new idea resulted in the division of some schools into grammar schools and junior high schools.
curriculum & facilities Children learned to read using the McGuffey Readers, a series of books that were first published in the 1830s. In urban schools, the use of playground equipment was catching on. The first educational films were also used in the 1910s.
In 1915, some states began to adopt a standardized curriculum. At the intermediate level, girls learned cooking and sewing in Domestic Science class and boys learned to make functional objects in Manual Training. At the high school level, individual skills were taken into consideration when students were guided into academic or vocational tracks. Classes in ethics, health, family life and job skills were also being added to the lineup.
the consolidation question In most areas, each town and rural school had its own school district. In my county, this resulted in the formation of nearly 150 separate school districts. Occasionally, the question of whether or not to consolidate came up: should we combine our rural and town schools into larger districts?
"The one-room school will doubtless be with us always. The tendency towards consolidated schools can not increase too fast."
This 1912 quote summarized the way many people felt about consolidation. In 1917, after much debate, my county voted not to consolidate.
compulsory education A compulsory education law requires that all children attend school until a certain age. In 1914, only 42 states had a compulsory education law. The Bureau of Education mounted a campaign to get the remaining six states to adopt similar laws, and by 1918 they had succeeded. The legal dropout age was different in each state and ranged from 12 to 18, with 16 being the most common.
The rules were very complicated. In most states, a student could leave school early if he had reached the minimum exemption age, or if he had a valid work permit and had attained the minimum level of education.
In some states, students who quit school in order to work were required to attend part-time day schools from four to eight hours per week.
mail order The mail order catalog sold everything under the sun. Clothes, toys, stoves, books, patent medicines and even houses could be found within its pages.
The Montgomery Ward catalog began as a one-page list in 1872. By 1914, it had expanded to 1,000 pages.
The Sears, Roebuck & Company catalog was first issued in 1886, and was published annually beginning in the 1890s.
For farmers, the mail order catalog was a godsend. Not only did it keep them in touch with the lifestyles of city folks, but for the first time in history farm families had access to the same products and fashions as everyone else. The catalog opened up a whole new world for them.
Old catalogs served many useful purposes. In poor areas, schools used them to teach spelling and reading. When a new catalog arrived, little girls enjoyed cutting the ladies out of the old catalog to make paper dolls. In the outhouse, pages from the old Sears & Roebuck catalog were used in place of expensive store-bought toilet paper.
Cylinder and disc records could also be ordered by mail. The Columbia music catalog and the Edison Phonograph Monthly featured all the latest hits. The Sears and Wards catalogs also sold records. If you ordered your phonograph from a catalog, you could order a "starter set" of records to go along with it.