Leap Year Vintage Postcards: Women Chasing, Trapping, Pursuing & Proposing

When one thinks of a single gal circa 1908, the image one conjures up may be of a demure, well-mannered girl, hoping and waiting to meet some man to marry. The operative word? Waiting.  Back then it was presumed that the man would be the one doing the wooing and asking for the woman’s hand in wedlock. Or there were also situations where husbands were picked for the young woman, without her having a say in who would be her mate.  But there was a lover’s loophole.  Leap Year.

Leap Years, which occur about every four years, was once also known as Ladies’ Day, The Ladies’ Privilege or Bachelors’ Day, it was a year when women could take the leap and propose to men.

During the years of 1908 and 1912 (in particular) , there were a slew of Leap Year postcards created to pay tribute to the day.  Cards that depicted women chasing, luring, trapping and pursuing men.  An interesting departure of how women were usually represented back then. One thing for sure? They’re pretty bizarre.

Although they do have a sense of female empowerment, the message was more of a desperate overbearing women chasing and forcing men to be theirs. Slate wrote a great piece that noted that, “one of the most popular leap-year memes depicted proposing women as fat, unattractive, and domineering—sometimes even violent—and the men they proposed to as scrawny, weak, and emasculated.”

Intrigues on the messages being sent on their postcards? Check out some of these Leap Year magic right here.nggallery id=’123976′

  • A Man in the Moon 1 of 18
    A Man in the Moon
    "Make a try for the man in the moon." In other words, pursue your fantasy boy. Circa 1908.

    Image source: Lancaster Online

  • Don’t Shoot! 2 of 18
    Don't Shoot!
    "Don't shoot, I love you!" Nothing like a armed proposal. Gives a new meaning to a gunshot wedding.

    Image Source: Ms Dow Antiques

  • All Yours! 3 of 18
    All Yours!
    She is apparently ready for the taking. Black dress, big heart and all.

    Image Source: Ms Dow Antiques

  • Taking a Leap…Literally 4 of 18
    Taking a Leap...Literally
    Women willing to jump into the river to get their man. Love that he's wearing a top hat.

    Image Source: Ms Dow Antiques

  • The Woods 5 of 18
    The Woods
    "Unsafe for a poor lone bachelor." Forget about the big bad wolf, this man has to be afraid of all the maidens waiting for him.

    Image Source: Wku.edu

  • Brute! 6 of 18
    Brute!
    His flag says "Bachelor Protective League," a man apparently doing everything he can to avoid being caught.

    Image Source: Wku.edu

  • Caged 7 of 18
    Caged
    "We're only trying to get to you." Apparently this bachelor put himself in a self-imposed jail cell to keep himself safe from these hungry ladies.

    Image Source: Torra

  • The End of the Chase 8 of 18
    The End of the Chase
    A woman and her parents trap her prey- her tiny tiny prey.

    Image Source: M Hwak

  • The Trap 9 of 18
    The Trap
    This massive woman sets her trap for her man. But it looks like she could squash him with it!

    Image Source: Torra

  • Another Trap 10 of 18
    Another Trap
    "How to catch them - in 1908"

    "Build a large Mouse Trap. Disguise the front entrance as a palatial mansion, take a empty flour sack, fill with rubbish and print a dollar sign on it. Hang on for bait. Scatter a few loose coins about the entrance for effect and await results." Love how she gives step by step instructions.

    Image Source: Tennreb Girl

  • Buttonholed 11 of 18
    Buttonholed
    This is one tall drink of water for such a petite man.

    Image Source: About Cards

  • Yet Another Trap 12 of 18
    Yet Another Trap
    This trap? It consists of beer, meat and pretzels. The way to a man's heart?

    Image Source: Ms Dow Antiques

  • Going Fishing 13 of 18
    Going Fishing
    Catching her man not unlike a trout.

    Image Source: Torra

  • One or the Other 14 of 18
    One or the Other
    This man has a "two to one chance." It doesn't look like he likes his odds.

    Image Source: Nil

  • There’s a Man in the House 15 of 18
    There's a Man in the House
    "I believe there's a man in the house!" Yes, he may be passed out and under her bed, but he's still there.

    Image Source: Playle.com

  • Collared 16 of 18
    Collared
    It looks like she got her man. At least in this one they look relatively normal.

    Image Source: About Cards

  • Cute! 17 of 18
    Cute!
    This mid century card captures the cuteness of Leap Year.

    Image Source: Classy Boutique

  • Maidens Are Waiting 18 of 18
    Maidens Are Waiting
    "Maidens are eagerly waiting. Their traps enticingly baiting for the year Nineteen naught eight. By the old laws of leap year. They can propose without fear. And pick their own choice for a mate."

    Ramaker

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