June 4 – “Old Maids” Day? Yikes!

Posted on June 4, 2015

I'm pretty sure that "Old Maids" Day is way too old fashioned to still be celebrated...right?

Actress, director, producer, screenwriter Diane Keaton

It used to be that the established wisdom was that all women wanted to get married, needed to get married, should get married.

And if a woman got to be a certain age and still hadn't married, she was sometimes called an “old maid.” And, honestly, she was seen by many as an object of pity. “Oh, poor dear. She never married, you know...”

Queen Elizabeth I famously
never married
Of course, some men and women DO want to find someone special, share their life with that one special someone, and make it all official by getting married.

But some don't.

And some men and women who want to get married never find the special someone who thinks that they are a special someone as well...and some people are disappointed.

But we know now that humans are important and can make huge contributions whether they are male or female, married or single. Humans can be happy and fulfilled no matter what, too!


Okay...but what about this “Old Maid's” Day?

Apparently, on this date in 1948, a woman who worked at a shirt factory in Norristown, Pennsylvania, secretly put a greeting card and a corsage of flowers on the work tables of unmarried women who were 30 years old or older.

Naturally, the women who got the cards and flowers wondered what was going on. And the women who didn't get anything wondered, too.

Whenever Marion Richards was asked if she knew what was going on, she would whisper, “Shhh, this is Old Maid's Day.”

So soon everyone knew that Richards had been the gift giver.

And that day was super fun at the shirt factory. Someone brought out ice cream as a special treat. That night some married women and young single girls gave a party for the “Old Maids,” and Richards was asked to give a speech; she said she hoped that Old Maids Day would never be called “Spinsters Day” and that it would never be commercialized. Everyone agreed that recognition of unmarried women should happen once a year in Norristown.

And there was a bit of newspaper coverage – and soon Richards and “Old Maids Day” secretary Dora McCracken were inundated with letters from people wanting to privately celebrate their own unmarried friends and relatives on June 4 or who wanted to start a public celebration in their own town. Letters came even from other countries, such as Germany, Canada, England, and Finland.

By the way...

Can you think of a reason that there were more unmarried women in the late 1940s?

Many women had been waiting for men that they loved to return back from World War II. And the tragic truth about war is that some soldiers do not come back home.

Also on this date:

Clean Air Day in Canada

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