A Lady Should Only Appear in Newspaper at Birth and Death

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I need help trying to figure out the origin of a mantra that I read years ago in the "North and South" trilogy by John Jakes.

Jakes meant to illustrate that before the War, many people felt that a woman should never be the subject of scandal or controversy or even draw attention to herself, and that a proper lady should only ever have her name in a newspaper two times: when she was born, and when she died.

Does anybody know where this came from? Was this from a famous saying? I've been trying to google the exact quote and the origin of this mantra, but no luck.
 
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Eleanor Rose

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Great question @Forks of the Ohio and I look forward to seeing the responses. Having grown up in the South, I have frequently heard the common maxim which states that a woman’s name should appear in the newspaper only three times: at her birth, upon her marriage and at her death. Some old Southern families still hold steadfast to this rule. I never thought about its origin. @AshleyMel, did you ever hear this growing up?

I do know Molly Brown (a.k.a "the unsinkable Mrs. Brown” of Titanic fame) was accused of breaking this social rule when she attempted to win a seat in her state's senate in 1901.
 

AshleyMel

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Oh ya, this was (is) a thing!
Before social media, there was the local newspaper and if you were in it, shenanigans must have been involved! Proper ladies were never mentioned in the newspaper (maybe, just maybe, on occasion, the society section).
My Grannies would scour the local paper! Just looking (hoping) for any tidbit of a scandal that might have been turned up and reported on in the village.
After all, a nosey neighbor is a good neighbor, right?
:bounce:
The origins of this...I have no idea. It just has always been.
 
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JPK Huson 1863

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Boy I don't know. It sounds to me like another handy way to shush women, doesn't it? What you have to love are the newspaper articles where apparently mentioning men's names was somehow gauche too- like when bawdy houses were busted. The house's female owner had her name pasted all over the news but the customers got by with " ... three gentlemen of the city were fined ", etc.

It may be later than we think? You see quite a few names in newspapers from early to mid 1800's, school prizes for scholarship, various social club minutes and projects, women's issues and different topics, who won what ribbon at a horse show or county fair, books written. Maybe it's one of those made-up things originating when social codes were slipping to the point where the gap between them was narrowing?
 

AshleyMel

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I think there has (and will) always be the old double standard when it comes to women's roles, especially when on public display!
I know I was certainly taught to mind my manners and put forth my best image so as to not injure the family reputation (something I have always and continuously bucked).
My mother the heart and soul of a perfect Southern lady while my Nanny somehow straddled the fence between that perfection and tough ol broad. I never fit in any one box but was given fierce discipline for my own good (maybe).
Marriages, baptisms, church potlucks, garden societies, fundraisers, funerals announcements - all fit the bill when a proper lady should have attention on herself. Confrontations on the street, being seen with the wrong fella on the street, public drinking, rowdiness and, Lord forbid, jail time was all the stuff that family & history would never let one forget if published in the news!
 
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Zella

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I've heard that saying, too, though never directed at me.

My Grannies would scour the local paper! Just looking (hoping) for any tidbit of a scandal that might have been turned up and reported on in the village.
I live for our local arrest report. :bounce::D:giggle::laugh::roflmao::angel:

As we say in the South, "It's the gospel truth." :smile:
The gossip truth. :laugh::wink::giggle:
 
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