This vintage newspaper article, printed in Washington, D.C. in 1881, speaks frankly of concerns a minister has in the way young people go about courtship. Compared to today’s parents’ and grandparents’ concerns, we might draw parallel (or direct) comparisons. Much has changed, and much stays the same.
At the Turn of the 20th Century (year 1900), the Soda Fountain was a safe and socially acceptable place for men and women to meet. Courting couples could enjoy a little semi-private time tucked in the back of the drug store sipping one Coca-Cola from two straws. Come see a vintage article written about why soda fountains foster romance, and how the Soda Men must safeguard themselves against falling for lonely maiden customers. Soda Fountains remained a courtship and dating icon from the late nineteenth century through the 1950s and beyond. What was the draw?
In 1893, expectations surrounding courtship made it improper for a couple to show affection for one another in public. Baltimore apparently outlawed simple signs of affection in their city parks, raising the alarm in New York City where Central Park was a key location for courting couples to go about their courtship (which included simple things like sitting on a bench together, a man’s arm about his sweetheart’s waist). This article includes a newspaperman’s interview with two different Central Park policemen, one who favored strict laws prohibiting such displays of affection and one who was most tolerant. Step back in time and enjoy an entire vintage newspaper article and historic images of Central Park in the late 19th century.
The ritual of courtship in the days of the American Old West is very different from today’s dating. Courtship used to always mean an intention to marry–if the couple found they were indeed as compatible as they believed. Courtship followed specific rules and standards, even in the less-than-stuffy western territories and states. I provide a list of courtship rituals that are an intrinsic part of the fabric of the American West history.