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.
YES. LEAP YEAR ROMANCES REALLY DID OCCUR!
Some Leap Year engagements credited to poor behavior of young men in the other three out of four years. Thus Ladies’ Leap Year Clubs and Men’s Leap Year Clubs passed resolutions of how to best protect and support one another through the difficulties. Rules for Leap Year parties, and more!