One hundred and thirty-seven years ago, today, was May 21, 1880. Three newspapers (two from Kansas and one from Louisiana) covered three timely subjects–two of which surprised me deeply. One–Leap Year–I knew about and had become comfortable with. But wait until you see the other two. Technology in 1880 was far more advanced than I realized…you might be equally surprised.
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.
Happy “Book Birthday” to Sophia’s Leap-Year Courtship! Brand new release, today, on every major eBook retail site. In celebration, I’m sharing what makes this title so different than other mail-order bride romances, AND a full scene from the middle of the book.
A bicycle built for two plays a role in my new release, Sophia’s Leap-Year Courtship. Such bicycles are romantic–and they’re making a resurgence. I see them in romantic bridal photography, all over Pinterest, and the research for the book showed me just when they were originally “a thing” and how they could fit into this book. Come see!
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.