Turns out they were pretty much right.
According to modern-day information at Our World in Data, women born in 1996 were 8 centimeters (that’s 3.14 inches) taller than their counterparts born 100 years earlier, in 1896.
The woman of today & her great grandmother (1906)
From the Salt Lake Herald (Salt Lake City, Utah) November 11, 1906
Future woman will be a giant
Height has increased eight inches in a century, and shows a constant growth.
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Women growing taller: Medical doctor says future ladies will be of greater height (1923)
From the Richmond Times-Dispatch (Richmond, Virginia) October 16, 1923
I think Dr. Clelia Duel Mosher has done as much as any other living woman to emancipate her sex.
She might well rest on her laurels, but now she comes through with still another boost. She finds that women are not only growing healthier in mind and body, but bigger and better.
Studies made at Stanford University of 4,170 women show that in the last thirty years, the average weight and height of women have increased, the increase in the average height being 1.2 inches.
Vassar College statistics show an increase of 1.5 inches in the height of women in the last thirty-seven years, Smith College measurements during a shorter period show a similar increase.
The average height of Vassar College women in 1885 — there were thirty of ‘em — was 63.5 inches. The average height or women at Vassar in 1929-31 (there were 296 then) was 64.7 inches. The average height of women at Stanford in 1891-92 (there were 94) was 62.4 inches; in 1920-21 (299 students) it was just 64 inches.
How come the women are growing taller? Dr. Mosher carefully considers all the possible explanations and concludes that the probable reasons are greater outdoor life, climbing, riding, exercise in the open, and other physical and athletic activities encouraged by shorter skirts, sport clothes and the passing of the fashion which demanded a narrow waist.
Today’s college girl is right there for the eats. Twenty or 30 years ago, they naturally had delicate appetites to go with their namby-pamby mode of existence and restraining dress.
In a period of 10 years, the proportion of Stanford University women who suffered pain with menstruation has decreased from two in every three to but one in every five.
There’s nothing the matter with the women but the female weakness delusion, and that appears to be doomed.