And there are many more where these were spotted…
The Daily Mail has published these in an article geared for Leap Day, noting that the last day of February in a leap year means only one thing – women can propose to men.
The paper says any bloke feeling anxious about this once-every-four-years phenomenon may like to take advice from a collection of ‘leap year’ postcards by Donald McGill.
The postcards, which date from the early 1900s when it was deemed improper for women to propose, all feature warnings to men about getting trapped by undesirable women on the only day they could traditionally pop the question.
The cards are on display at the Donald McGill Postcard Museum in Ryde, Isle of Wight, for the first time in 90 years – just in time for the 29th of the month.
Most of McGill’s cards, made between 1910 and 1925, show scared men who didn’t want to get married or large women who would do anything they could to catch a husband.
One post-war card shows a woman with huge muscles and an iron bar and the message: ‘Last year I was too busy making munitions, but look out for yourselves this year you men!
One shows a large woman pinning her worried loved one to the ground with the words: ‘I hear you’ve been taking lessons in jiu-jitsu for leap year.’
Another, entitled A Maiden’s Prayer, shows a rather unattractive woman praying that her man will accept her marriage proposal: ‘Now I lay me down to sleep, bless, oh bless, the year of leap. Unless a man jumps like a flea, he’ll never get away from me.’
James Bissell-Thomas, owner of the Museum, was surprised to find McGill had produced the unusual leap year cards,.
McGill is best known for his seaside cards showing he was expert in the art of the postcard double entendre.
He produced a massive 12,000 different seaside postcards throughout his career but in 1954 he was charged with publishing obscene images and four of his cards were banned immediately and 17 more banned once existing stocks had been sold.
He died in 1962 aged 87.
At the height of his fame McGill earned three guineas a design.
Today his cards are highly sought after with his original artwork going for up to £1,700 in auction and up to £2,500 in London Galleries.
The Daily Mail has a bit of information about the Leap Year tradition, too.
For centuries it was considered improper for women to propose, but there is a long tradition in Britain that proposals by a woman on a leap year were seemly and right.
Legend has it that in 1288 in Scotland it was made legal for women to propose to men on a Leap Year only.
However it wasn’t all bad, If he declined he was told to provide her with a silk dress or pair of gloves.
In the 1800’s and 1900’s special marriage proposal cards were produced for women to give to their intended.
Come to think of it, Mrs Grumble proposed to Alf on 29 February many years ago.
She was shrewd enough to catch him at a weak moment, after a longish session at the Eketahuna Club.
The rest, as they say, is history.
A history of wedded bliss, Alf hastens to add.