Being single in DC… 100 years ago

Photo courtesy of
‘Suffrage Hay wagon (LOC)’
courtesy of ‘The Library of Congress’

Remember Karl’s post about DC’s “culture of single-ism?” Well, some things never change it seems. Nikolas Schiller, man of many talents, posted up a scan and transcription of a 1908 Washington Times article about unmarried women in the District.  It’s fantastic reading, both for its content and as a window into another time.

The overgrown country village by the Potomac lays claim to a possession of a higher percentage of women of marriageable age with a lower per cent of opportunity than any community over which floats the Stars and Stripes, not excepting the man-deserted sitting rooms of the high-browed and austere dame of the hub of the universe nor rural Virginia where the coy and clinging lass of the Southland has been left in solitude while her possible mate sought elsewhere realms of greater activity. To substantiate which claim, though she likes them not, the burg of the broad avenue and the bouqueted beauty quotes the figures.

A recently completed police census reveals the fact that there are 17,000 more women in the city than men, which is rather startling majority out of a total of less than 330,000. It signifies that for each 100 men there are 111 women in the running. These discouraging figures, however, are but a shadow of the real plight in which a woman in Washington finds herself, for the social conditions that surround men in the Government service who largely make up the lists of possible matrimonial candidates are such as to discourage marriage and where there is a tendency shown to fly in the face of this restraint the victim is picked so soon that the rank and file have little chance at him.

As an aside, the 1908 Times is not, in fact, the same times of Today – Rev Moon may have revived the name when he started the Times in the early 80s, but they have not been in continuous operation since that time the way the Washington Post has been.

Well I used to say something in my profile about not quite being a “tinker, tailor, soldier, or spy” but Tom stole that for our about us page, so I guess I’ll have to find another way to express that I am a man of many interests.

Hmm, guess I just did.

My tastes run the gamut from sophomoric to Shakespeare and in my “professional” life I’ve sold things, served beer, written software, and carried heavy objects… sometimes at the same place. It’s that range of loves and activities that makes it so easy for me to love DC – we’ve got it all.


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