New Ulm weekly review , February 1, 1888

Stendahl was the pen name of Marie-Henri Beyle, 1783-1842, a French writer

[1] [2] The Growth of Children.

The rate of growth in children varies according to the sex.  Thus, at the age of 11 to 12 years, boys are larger and heavier than girls; but from that age on the evolution of the girls is more rapid, and they soon overtake the boys and pass them, till the age of 15 years is reached, when the boys draw ahead again, while the girls remain nearly stationary. A curious relation has been discovered between the growth of children in stature and in weight.  M. Malling-Hansen, director of the deaf and dumb mute institution at Copenhagen, has for three years weighed and measured his pupils daily and he has discovered that their growth does not take place regularly and progressively, but by stages separated by intervals of rest. Weight also increases by periods after intervals of equilibrium. While the weight is increasing the stature remains nearly stationary and vice versa.  The maximum of increase of stature corresponds with a period of minimum augmentation of weight.  The vital forces do not appear to work on both sides at once.  These variations are subject to the influence of the seasons.  During the autumn and early winter, according to M. Malling-Hansen, the child accumulates weight while his stature increases slowly; but during spring, stature receives a veritable push, while weight increases but little.  Some local habits have an influence on the stature. Stendhal[3] remarked that many Roman girls had deformed vertebral columns, or were a little humpbacked, and found it was the result of a popular belief prevailing in Rome that parents could promote the growth of their children by punching them in the back.


[1] JMC: The New Ulm Weekly Review was published from January 2, 1878 until 1961. It was an English language newspaper in contrast to the many German language newspapers also published in the area.  Located in southeastern Minnesota, New Ulm had been settled by German immigrants, and the city retained a strong German heritage.

[2] JMC: Interestingly, the Californian daily newspaper “Sacramento Daily Record-Union” brought the exact same story, verbatim, in its January 28, 1888 edition! Both of these were printed without indicating the name or initials of the writer and omitting to name the source. It is possible that in both cases the two papers “fetched” the story from the January 22, 1885 issue of “The Springfield Globe – Republic” and chose to bring a shorter version, penned by a journalist at the Sacramento Daily, which, in its turn, was then copied verbatim by the New Ulm weekly review!

[3] JMC: Stendahl was the pen name of Marie-Henri Beyle, 1783-1842, a French writer, known for his acute analysis of his characters’ psychology and considered one of the earliest practitioners of realism in novels and short stories. He settled in Italy as from 1814, serving as French consul at Trieste and Civitavecchia and spent a large part of his life in that country. As a writer he was little appreciated in his lifetime but now recognized  as one of the world’s greatest novelists.