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A Farnsworth Halloween

Posted by Michael Church (Digital Projects Coordinator) on Oct 28, 2013

We all have memories of Halloween parties and snacks to reflect the season.  Martha Farnsworth, Topeka, describes preparations for a party she was giving for her Sunday School “boys.”  She and her husband had taught a class and they advanced with the boys each year until they were teaching young men.  Here is her description of the 1917 party.

October 1917

Tues. 30 Cold and snow & rain “flurries” most of day. I baked “witch” drop cakes and made other preparations for my Party tomorrow night for my boys. I went to town this afternoon to get some needed things- Awfully busy all day.

Wed. 31 A splendidly fine day  I put up my Halloween decorations, and worked hard all day, yet am not tired. And this evening the young folks came and we had a very jolly Hallowe’en together, with the usual stunts, fortunes, etc. I served Cider, “Witch cakes and dough-nuts- the Witch Cakes had a ring (Ron got it) a penny and Helen Rolly got it, and a thimble, drawn by Scott Brown- Those who came, were Scott Brown Dorothy Christian, John Perine Carrie Wiede, Jack Miller, Helen Rolly, Virgil Scholes, Alvie Officer, Robt. Sympson Nancy Boone, “babe” Monahan, Helen McCahan, Luther Davis, Lillian Larson, Charlie Plath, Olive Monroe, Ronald McCord, Lucile Maguire, Earl Parmer, Rose Rogers, and Fred Brackett. I gave them all Halloween boxes of “Dream” cake as Souvenirs.

The annual event changed in 1918 with the following entries for October 30 and 31.

Wed, 30 A fine day. Wrote letters, again today, every spare moment of my time, to my beloved Soldier Boys

Thurs. 31 Cold today. Writing letters all day- I wish I could write with both hands at once. Nancy Boone and Lillian Larson called early in evening and Luther Davis. Helen Campbell, Millard Stowell and Miss Bush came in for the evening. I have always had a Halloween Party for the Boys, but they are all away to War now.

World War I was impacting life on the home front as well as the lives of those serving in the armed forces.

Click the images below to read the actual diary entries.  Martha used Haloween stickers on the diary pages.

   1917   

 

 

 

 

 1918

 

 

 

 

These diary entries illustrate how World War I was impacting life on the home front as well as the lives of those serving in the armed forces.  Martha viewed her Sunday School boys as family and her concern and anxiety are apparent in a number of entires. 

[Post written by Pat Michaelis (Research Collections Division Director)]

 


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