Retro Wednesday: Diaries: Part One

Hard cover, daily records, uniformed, informative.  The books Babu recorded her life into are intriguing even without her delightful quips, naive adorableness and astute observations.  Quite a few of them were obtained from Forbes and Wallace, a department store who produced diary after diary that looked exactly the same every year.  Not at all feminine for something clearly marketed toward young women.


There are many pages of what was considered useful information inside the pages of these books.

diary 12

Of course, we always need the “If found please return to” page of any diary or day planner, but do we need all the information necessary to steal your identity?  Let’s peep a few things:

The table of contents lets you know what we are getting into here.

The telephone number for her house, the house I live in now was, 818?!

I wonder how shoe sizes ran then.  Her feet now are the same size as mine.  I’m a 6 1/2 in women’s and a 5 in boys.  So, either her feet grew or shoe sizes were recorded differently.

diary 14.jpeg

I wish these were postage prices these days.  But who sends much by mail anyway?

diary 16

This is what they considered “Practical Information for Every Day Use.”  There are some interesting choices here.  If I carry this around with me and run across a ball, I should be able to figure out it’s surface measurement.  I have never had horsepower explained to me before.  So that’s pretty neat.  I wonder how this page would be different today.  Perhaps not as much information about wattage and more about LED?

Don’t forget a page dedicated to suggestions for emergency first aide:

diary 28

Wow.  I can’t believe the inaccuracies in instructions for a drowning victim!

The instructions for the treatment of burns sounds like a recipe for cooking someone.

For almost everything else:  give ’em whiskey!  Internally, of course.

diary 30

And just like that, my wanderlust is ignited.

diary 17

Oh my gosh, who has time for all of this?!  Plus, I don’t know what half of this stuff is.  Bisulphide of Carbon?  Oxalic acid?  So, we are using chloroform in house keeping?  And I don’t own any silk, and probably couldn’t identify muslin if I were wearing it.  This page puts to rest the women being interested in science debate.  They always were.  They just used that knowledge to mix chemicals to get any stain out of anything without passing out and killing everyone in the entire apartment complex.  Damn.

diary 15

No way!  Wyoming only has 225,565 people living there in 1941?!  I wonder how different population sizes are today.  Well, let’s look!

Alabama:  Currently: 4.875 million

New York: Currently:  19.85 million

Wyoming: Currently:  579, 315 (Wow, there are still, like, no people there.)

California:  Currently 39.54 million

OK, I’m still stuck on this.  The square milage of Wyoming is 97,914 and the square milage of Alabama is 52, 419.  Alabama is is alittle over half the size but Wyoming has about 1/8th of the population.  Did I do that math right?  At all?

This just makes me want to move to Wyoming right now.

diary 29

So much interesting information here leads one to drift away in day dreams about hanging gardens, statues, temples and catacombs, the early age of flight and…poison gas…?

Interesting side note, it’s haunting to see the phrase: “used in World War” in what was the 1940 diary.  If only.

Want to know more?  Yes, of course you do.  At the bottom of every diary page lies tips and tricks, advice and admonishments for any young lady of the 1940s.  (And let’s leave it there.)  Check back in to next week’s Retro Wednesday for more!


5 Comments Add yours

  1. It was a very business like looking diary and certainly a fountain of information. I kind of like that back then not all women’s products had to be pink.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. E says:

    I would play in those books all day. I especially loved the anti-feminist advice in the back of my great grandmothers cookbooks 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, just wait, it’s all throughout these, too!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is wonderful! Thanks for these insights into how much things have changed. The stain-removing advice is head-scratchingly odd. I don’t think I can use any of it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I thought so too!


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