It’s a long way from swiping right! Fascinating Victorian postcards reveal the 25 STAGES of 19th Century dating from the ‘bashful lover’ making his first call to marriage


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Today women turn to books like ‘The Rules’ or ‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus’ to understand and negotiate the modern dating world.

But in the nineteenth century, before one could just click on Amazon to purchase a self-help book, these quaint postcards may have guided Victorian women through the tricky stages of relationships.

From waiting for your date to call, meeting the parents to the proposal, these charming stereograph slides reveal the twenty-five stages from courtship to marriage between a couple.

The hand-tinted cards were made around 1890. And although the world of courtship may have moved on considerably since the 1890s, these vintage postcards show that some aspects of dating and relationships haven’t changed.

A fascinating Victorian postcards reveal the 25 STAGES of 19th Century dating from the 'bashful lover' making his first call right up to marriage 

A fascinating Victorian postcards reveal the 25 STAGES of 19th Century dating from the ‘bashful lover’ making his first call right up to marriage

These postcards may have guided Victorian women through the tricky stages of relationships, including the second stage, which was the second call - and improvement on the first 

These postcards may have guided Victorian women through the tricky stages of relationships, including the second stage, which was the second call – and improvement on the first

The stereographs are generally depicted from the perspective of the woman being courted and reveal age-old dating problems like the awkwardness on a first date, waiting for a guy to call you, the dreaded meeting between your new boyfriend and your mother and the looming task of wedding planning.

 

The cards can be found in the Haper Stereograph Collection of the Boston Public Library collection and although there are twenty-five stages listed in the guide, postcard 11 is missing from the set.

The stereographs begin with ‘The Bashful Lover makes his Call’ and end with a friend of the now happily married couple receiving exciting news of their first child. ‘I just knew it would be a boy,’ she exclaims.

Before one could just click on Amazon to purchase a self-help book, these quaint postcards would have been just the ticket. The third stage involves the mother asking if he's coming over for dinner

Before one could just click on Amazon to purchase a self-help book, these quaint postcards would have been just the ticket. The third stage involves the mother asking if he’s coming over for dinner

As these cards attest, women spent a lot of time hanging around by the phone waiting for their lover to call 

As these cards attest, women spent a lot of time hanging around by the phone waiting for their lover to call

'One O'Clock in the morning' shows the couple enjoying their first date  in a set of postcards that advises women through the dating process

‘One O’Clock in the morning’ shows the couple enjoying their first date  in a set of postcards that advises women through the dating process

The cards, published in the 19th century, show the couple being caught in the early hours by the parents

The hand-tinted cards were made around 1890 and show the seventh stage of dating, which was the boyfriend being sent home in the small hours

The hand-tinted cards were made around 1890 and show the seventh stage of dating, which was the boyfriend being sent home in the small hours

And although the world of courtship may have moved on considerably since the 1890s, these vintage postcards show that some aspects of dating and relationships haven't changed

And although the world of courtship may have moved on considerably since the 1890s, these vintage postcards show that some aspects of dating and relationships haven’t changed

Just like modern women, showing off their engagement ring to friends was all a part of the process for Victorians 

Just like modern women, showing off their engagement ring to friends was all a part of the process for Victorians

This candid card captures the couple stealing a kiss the night before their big day

This candid card captures the couple stealing a kiss the night before their big day

From waiting for your date to call, meeting the parents to the proposal, these charming stereograph slides reveal the twenty-five stages

From waiting for your date to call, meeting the parents to the proposal, these charming stereograph slides reveal the twenty-five stages

The stereographs are generally depicted from the perspective of the woman being courted and capture their journey to marriage

The stereographs are generally depicted from the perspective of the woman being courted and capture their journey to marriage

The cards reveal the dreaded meeting between your new boyfriend and your mother and the looming task of wedding planning, as well as showing the bride ready for her big day

The cards reveal the dreaded meeting between your new boyfriend and your mother and the looming task of wedding planning, as well as showing the bride ready for her big day

The cards, which also show the wedding march, can be found in the Haper Stereograph Collection of the Boston Public Library collection

The cards, which also show the wedding march, can be found in the Haper Stereograph Collection of the Boston Public Library collection

Although there are twenty-five stages listed in the guide, postcard 11 is missing from the set but the rest of the cards show a very rigorous process 

Although there are twenty-five stages listed in the guide, postcard 11 is missing from the set but the rest of the cards show a very rigorous process

Tradition aspects of the wedding, like exchanging of the rings, still exist today

Tradition aspects of the wedding, like exchanging of the rings, still exist today

The stereographs begin with 'The Bashful Lover makes his Call' and end with the wedding day and news of the first child

The stereographs begin with ‘The Bashful Lover makes his Call’ and end with the wedding day and news of the first child

The cards are extremely detailed and capture the elements of the big day - including the bridegroom's first kiss

The cards are extremely detailed and capture the elements of the big day – including the bridegroom’s first kiss

The bridegroom's first kiss is followed by a kiss from the bride's mother

The bridegroom’s first kiss is followed by a kiss from the bride’s mother

The father is then seen passing on his congratulations to his new son-in-law

The father is then seen passing on his congratulations to his new son-in-law

The bridal party can be seen enjoying the wedding breakfast following the ceremony on card  number 22 

The bridal party can be seen enjoying the wedding breakfast following the ceremony on card  number 22

In one of the final cards, the couple can be seen 'alone at last' following the traditional wedding ceremony 

In one of the final cards, the couple can be seen ‘alone at last’ following the traditional wedding ceremony

In the 1800s, courtship was considered more a career move than a romantic interlude for young men, as all of a woman’s property reverted to him upon marriage.

Therefore courting was taken very seriously – by both sides. Men and women were careful not to lead the other on unnecessarily.

Certain etiquette and conduct was expected of nineteenth century gentleman when courting.

One etiquette book noted that ‘courting ought never to be done except with a view to marriage.’ This meant a gentleman had to walk a fine line. He could not pay exclusive attention to any particular woman unless he was serious and wanted to pursue marriage.

In the 1800s, courtship was considered more a career move than a romantic interlude for young men and the penultimate card shows the couple settling down

In the 1800s, courtship was considered more a career move than a romantic interlude for young men and the penultimate card shows the couple settling down

The final card shows the happily married couple receiving exciting news of their first child. 'I just knew it would be a boy,' she exclaims

The final card shows the happily married couple receiving exciting news of their first child. ‘I just knew it would be a boy,’ she exclaims

 

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