Dating in 19th century america
C., and other cities and towns across the country would hold open houses on Jan.1 and invite eligible bachelors — friends and strangers — to stop by for a brief visit and some light refreshments.Often the women posted ads — which included their names, addresses and visiting hours — in the local newspaper. Conventional Behavior Curatorial consultant Steph Mc Grath, who studied New Year's Calling when she was at the Du Page County Historical Museum in Illinois, says she is not sure which sections of society participated in the convention, "though you'd think maybe the upper classes would set the style, rather than need a printed guidebook." True.But for whoever needed guidance, there was a compendium of knowledge and etiquette.The two would spend time together, usually with the supervision of her parents so that they may get to know each other on an intellectual and emotional level.The couple was rarely left alone, making sexual intimacy (and physical contact in general) nearly impossible.
The collection includes manuscript and visual materials, including a tintype of Hannah Richards, William’s grandmother, who was born in captivity but later freed.
I stumbled upon a novel written in 1879 by female telegraph operator Ella Cheever called Wired Love.
Apparently many operators were women in the late 19th century, and they were often identified as such by the delicacy of their “sounding” on the wires.
Since lower-class families did not have the resources to entertain potential suitors in their home, many couples began leaving the house to spend time together.
Thus, the phrase "going out on a date" became popularized.
It is important to note that many of these mainstream rituals were strictly confined to heterosexual dating.