PARALYZED BRIDEGROOM: A vintage newspaper article published on January 15, 1888 in The Sunday Leader of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, shows the superstitious nature of one (Kentucky) widower…and a very odd set of circumstances. Note that the article takes care to explain both the effected bridegroom and the new bride are frugal, hard-working, well-respected people of common sense. Amazing what a bit of folklore, threats from a dying first wife, and “the power of suggestion” can do.
A vintage newspaper article (123 years old), dated April 6, 1894, was published in a Hamburg, New York newspaper (The Sun and the Erie County Independent). Titled HOW TO ATTRACT MEN, the brief advice encapsulates the late Victorian-era’s social expectations for men and women–and sheds light on the etiquette of courtship…or how a woman might properly persuade a man to notice her (so a courtship might commence).
Etiquette governing balls and dances in the American Victorian era seems stuffy, old-fashioned, and strict to 21st century Americans. Every rule of decorum ensured good manners were in play, but most importantly, the moral purity and innocence of young women and young men were maintained. Etiquette governed everything from how a man asked a woman for a dance to how he could properly hold her hand while dancing, to how many dances that pair could have in one evening. This article contains the specifics propriety demanded, and the vintage sources where they may be found. Leap year turned some of the lady’s restrictions upon the men; see the true-to-history newspaper article from 1888 that starred in Sophia’s Leap-Year Courtship.
Really? Did Victorian Americans forbid kissing in public? Was it unreasonable to think the fictional town of Mountain Home, Colorado (the setting of The Gunsmith’s Bride (within GUNSMOKE & GINGHAM)) would have a “no kissing, no PDA” law? In 2017 U.S.A. it’s hard to believe Victorians would be so prudish as to object to public displays of affection–or a little peck. The newspaper articles, snippets from vintage magazines, and decorum advice from the era might leave you speechless… Oh! Read part of a scene where the law breaks up the hero and heroine (The Gunsmith’s Bride) kissing on the street–and threatens 48 hours in jail.
As with virtually all activities and behaviors in the Victorian Era, American society developed a set of etiquette rules governing bicycling. One might suppose this list is about signalling (hand gestures) or riding in pairs for protection. You might be quite surprised to see the lengthy list of do’s and dont’s [sic] offered up in a vintage newspaper article from 1895, and in various magazines of the day.