One of my favorite parts of old, vintage magazines is the “helpful hints” column that most of them are sure to include, in which the magazine readers themselves send in tips.
The reason I like these so much is because they give such a clear picture of the everyday concerns and common problems of the era, in a way that makes me at least feel like I am right there in the early 1900′s with them. Because their audience was other average women of the time, there was no need for lengthy explanations about how or why things were done – in fact, the introduction here clearly specifies to write very briefly. The women just jump right into their bits of information and assume you know exactly how it is to deal with these daily annoyances.
Please join me and the many readers of the September 1909 issue of Ladies’ Home Journal who each received a crisp dollar bill for each tip of theirs that was printed. I’ve included scans of part of the column that you can click on to enlarge and read along.
Subjects range from Edwardian era concerns such as frying oysters, uses for a broken clock, cleaning a room without raising dust, to how to keep a baby’s flannels looking new. Here is a selection of a few that seem like they could help even today:
To Keep a Bunch of Parsley Fresh: place it in a quart jar, screw the lid on tight and keep it in a cool place. Cared for in this way parsley will sometimes last for a week in good condition. J.B.
A Good Way to Clean Jewelry: is to use tepid water in which a little ammonia has been put. A toothbrush kept for the purpose will be found useful, especially in cleaning rings. Rinse the piece of jewelry in clear water or alcohol, and dry carefully with a twisted piece of cotton or an old handkerchief. B.P.B.
An Emergency Purse: kept in the shopping-bag, containing pins of various sizes, safety-pins, court-plaster, stamps, string, rubber bands, a pencil and penknife, will be found invaluable on many occasions. G.F.T.
And another scan if, like me, you never get tired of reading this vintage exchange of ideas: