I really enjoy vintage etiquette and household manuals. The latest in my collection is a 1962 edition of Heloise’s Housekeeping Hints. I have been enjoying poking through it over the last couple of weeks, being both educated on some helpful tips and humored at some of the outdated inclusions. For instance, have you ever tried to cut a girl’s hair with Scotch tape? I pulled my favorite passages for some fun weekend reading for you all.
Want a good tip for sourcing great vintage items? Believe it or not, most of my best finds are currently coming from Instagram. One of my favorite sellers is an account called The Cosmic Cottage. Check them out here.
But first, a bit about Heloise…
Texan Heloise Bowles was born in 1919 and her daughter, the current writer for the column, in 1951. Heloise Sr. began the column in 1959, making my book a real treasure, though it was already the third printing in 1962. The column was originally an unassuming piece in the The Honolulu Advertiser and was soon picked up by King Features Syndicate, soon to make the homemaker famous nationwide.
Born none less than Ponce Kiah Marchelle Heloise Cruse Evans, Heloise Jr. took over the column when her mother passed in 1977. I find it so touching that a daughter would have so much love for her mother’s work and legacy.
The book jacket reads:
“Heloise Cruse has become a phenomenon of the newspaper field. This fact is readily agreed upon by the Honolulu Advertiser, the paper that gave her a start. Its circulation jumped from about 46,000 to 71,000 in less than three years after Heloise began her famous column. Now, there are over 300 newspapers in the U.S. and Canada carrying her timely advice. Heloise practices what she preaches, for some of her hints are those which came from her own trial and error experiments; others have been contributed by her growing number of readers. Heloise and her husband Ly. Col Marshall Cruse, with their two little children, now live near Washington. For the first time, here are some of Heloise’s housekeeping hints in book form.”
And now for some of my favorite tips from the 1962 edition of Heloise’s Housekeeping Hints.
Don’t forget a bit of self-care, ladies!
From the introduction:
“And girls, another thing. Jar loose once in a while and spend a few nickels or dollars on yourself. Don’t do without those few simple things that would make your life easier, such as a carpet sweeper, plumber’s friend, feather-duster and pant-stretchers. Spend that few dollars for them.
Life is very short and so sweet. Live every day. Be neat and get rid of clutter and top-clean your house. I am forty-two years old and had to learn the hard way. Take it from me: learn the shortcuts.
Then spend the energy and time you have saved being kind to your family and friends, but most of all to yourself. You deserve the most!”
Don’t walk too much now!
“Never clean a closet or drawer when you are not angry or in the throwing away mood! You will be wasting your time…Wait until you are angry! This is the best time to clean. You will say to yourself, “I have kept this dress for two years thinking that I would remake it, but I am so angry today, why not throw it out?” If you get rid of the excess things your closets and drawers will be easier to keep. This is what all housewives are looking for. The easy way!!”
Seems a bit funny in a day and age when so many of us are counting our steps, doesn’t it?
Grooming and beauty tips
“An easy way to cut daughter’s bangs evenly is to dampen them slightly with a comb. While still damp, tear off a piece of cellulose tape and place it over the bangs…across the forehead, exactly where you want to cut them. You can then snip (with the scissors) across the top of the tape and will have a perfectly straight line. This also keeps the hair from falling in the child’s face.”
Trim your lipstick, girls
“If you use a razor blade to slice off the end of your lipstick tube diagonally, it will give you a very sharp outline when applied. It seems to fill out those minute wrinkles and cracks around your lips.”
Set your hair with beer
Stale beer is a good solution for setting the hair as it gives the hair “body.” Just dampen the hair and roll. The hair will not retain the beer odor when dry. Many beauty salons use this method.”
Has anyone ever tried this “method”?
“I cut my old slips off about ten inches below the waist and wear them for camisoles under my blouses when wearing slacks, etc. In winter they are warm. They fit much better than anything I can buy.”
I think I may try this myself!
“Having trouble drying your crinoline petticoats? Just put them over an open umbrella! Great!”
(Though she doesn’t say anything about the bad luck you can get from opening an umbrella inside!)
Celebrate each day
“What I am trying to tell you sweet housewives is that there is no one more important in your home than you! So don’t save your good things for “tomorrow” – use them now. Life is so short–enjoy every day of it.
Get your good silver out and put it in your kitchen drawer and use it every day. Use your good dishes at least once a week, if not daily. There is no one who will ever come into your home who is more important and loved any more than your own family. They are the greatest!”
You may also enjoy: