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.
Victorian-era Americans enjoyed holidays–filled with patriotism, fun, remembrance, religion, and fashion. Halloween began far earlier than the 19th century, when All Hallows Eve was a sacred, religious observation. Come catch a glimpse of our Victorian American ancestors’ fun with Halloween: “Hallowe’en Cake” and its fortune telling methods, parlor games filled with superstition, phrasing for party invitations, historical cabinet cards of Victorian Halloween costumes, and more!
Harper’s Bazar (also spelled ‘Bazaar’, later on) is a Ladies Magazine founded in the Victorian Era. This article highlights bathing costumes (swimming suits) featured in Harper’s Bazar from the 1870s through early 1890s.
“A cross between guidebook and social commentary, The Spinster Book gives clever and humorous insights on topics such as courting, handling men and women, love letters, marriage and spinsterhood.” I share one of the book’s vignettes on men; how they compare to cats…and a most successful way (for a Victorian lady, at least) to win a man’s heart, an invitation to a live theater or opera production, and his undying adoration. The book was published in 1901. The author (Myrtle Reed)’s sense of humor shines through, and sheds more than a little light on Victorian attitudes about courtship.
I endorse newspaper articles as an original source in researching Victorian-era America. Yet while I trust–for the most part–newspaper articles to be a reasonable representation of attitudes, circumstances, happenings, and differing opinions, I’m well aware that not everything in print is fact…at least as presented.
I came across newspaper articles mentioning Mrs. Charlotte Smith, presented as a rather ridiculous woman seeking legislation to force marriage upon the matrimony unencumbered. Three such articles follow, all of which are from credible, well-respected newspapers of the late nineteenth century. At the bottom, I’ll share more of who Mrs. Charlotte Smith was, the platforms she supported, the work she did–and cast an entirely different light on her nature than these newspaper reporters suggest.