Helen Millham: Prolific Writer of Fullerton, Pennsylvania

   

     I recently posted a recipe for "pocket book rolls" on Passed Time. As I stated in that post, the recipe just fell out at me as I was rearranging some cookbooks. "Pocket book rolls" was not the only recipe that made its escape from the cookbook. Another that escaped was the newspaper clipping shown here. It came from an anonymous source and I can only guess at a date of about 1940-50. In the section titled "Recipes from our Readers," three recipes are listed. The first is for a "Pinwheel Loaf" entered by Helen Millham of Fullerton, Pennsylvania (Lehigh County). On a whim I decided to find out more about Helen Millham.Helen Millhamw
    I was surprised to find Mrs. Millham had not only submitted this article, but she had submitted other items to various periodicals around the country. Often contributions were reimbursed by the periodical. Depending on how often she was published, she was not only sharing suggestions, anecdotes, and recipes, she was bringing in some money, 

     One of her contributuons made its way into the Waco Tribune-Herald in Texas. It is found in the February 1, 1959 issue on page 71. "[A]n acquaintance of mine , who operated a tearoom, was once choosing between two applicants who had applied for a position as gardener. Her mother, who was seated on the porch behind her, pointed toward one of the men who seemed less impressive than the other. Supposing that her mother had some knowledge of him, she hired him. Later the daughter asked, “Did he ever work for you?” “No.” “Then why did you choose him?” “When you pick a man for work, go by his overalls. If they are patched on the knees, that's your man. If they’re patched on the seat, get rid of him. — Mrs. Helen Millham, Fullerton, Pa."

   In the August 12, 1967 edition of the Chicago Tribune, Mrs. F.S. Millham of Fullteron, Pennsylvania was paid ten dollars for supplying this useful tip. "Don't throw away old curtain valances. An apron can easily be made by cutting the valance in half and sewing the two pieces together to form tiers. For a tie, slip a ribbon thru the casing of the valance."

     That was not her only publication in the Chicago Tribune. Seven years earlier, in the May 1, 1960 edition she shared the following anecdote with the reader.

Was My Face Red!
It was Tuesday afternoon and there weren't many shoppers at our local grocery store. I took my time sauntering down the aisles leisurely filling my cart. At the vegetable counter I stopped and dug into the lettuce bin, examining each head carefully. Finally, on the very bottom I found one head that suited me. I put it in my basket and was about to move on when a masculine voice behind me politely inquired, "Madam, would you kindly tell me which is the second best head? Helen Millham Fullerton, Pa. 

  The next entry was allegedly placed by Fred Millham to Boys' Life Magazine in their October 1982 edition. I don't know, I rather suspect Fred Millham was a useful pseudonym. The possibility does exist that even though Mr. Millham had died earlier that year, the magazine had kept the entry for a while prior to publication.....but, I have my suspicions. In any event, someone from the Millham family provided the following bit of advice. "Turn a long-handled two pronged fork into a jack-of-all-trades by bending both prongs (about one inch from the points) until they are perpendicular to the handle. I use this tool for pulling hot pans of food, caked or backed potatoes from the oven. It also comes in handy for reaching on high shelves or for fishing things out of narrow spaces. Fred Millham, Fullerton, Whitehall, Pa." 

     As name searches often do, the name "Helen Millham" produced a few possibilites as to identity. The Helen Millham that is more than likely our writer was born on August 13, 1906, to parents Frank K. and Sarah F. (Stoudt) Leiby in Fullerton, Pennsylvania. She died on December 6, 2000, eighteen years after the death of her husband, Fred Millham. Helen Millham's obituary was printed in the December 7, 2000 issue of The Morning Call. The obituary references her position as a sewing machine operator at the Royal Manufacturing Company in Allentown, but there is nothing suggesting she enjoyed writing. She was buried in the Garden of Peace Cemetery, Fullerton, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, next to her husband and an infant that had died in 1926.*    Importantly, Mrs. Millham left a little bit of herself behind in addition to a large family. Undoubtedly, as more newspapers are made publicly accessible, more Millham contributions will become known. If you know of any please contribute them. Additonally, it would be fantastic to be able to pair a picture of Mrs. Millham with the name, if anyone was of a mind to share. Best, Pat Earnest. Dover, Delaware, 17 August 2015

   Update: Not even one day has gone by since I published the above article, when another contribution made by Mrs. Millham came to my attention. As found on a website titled "It Was Printed" this listing was found, "Millham, F. S., Mrs. of Fullerton PA - 1967 Southern Living Desserts Cookbook." I suspect many, many more gems may surface. Best, Pat Earnest 18 August 2015 Dover, Delaware

 

*File contributed for use in USGenWeb Archives by Barbara Poltorak Myers.

 

Author Pat Earnest, currently lives in Dover, Delaware, with family, both two- and four-footed. I am a published author and history enthusiast, who has great regard for the past and is especially proud of the Pennsylvania German culture. In addition to Passed Time, I am currently working on a project for the German Historical Institutes Immigrant Entrepreneurship: German-American Business Biographies (http://www.ghi-dc.org). I also contribute to various newsletters and I am working on another book...or two. Feel free to email me at pcsuter@hotmail.com for questions, comments, information, a shared love of history, an idea, because you want to chat or you have an great idea for PT. Please be aware, Files With Attachments will not be opened, but immediately deleted.

 

 

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