Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Only an Old Maid: The View from 1900

Only an Old Maid: The View from 1900

By: Ardis E. Parshall - April 24, 2012

Contribution to the Young Woman’s Journal by a subscriber, 1900 –

Only an Old Maid

I really fancy I hear this said, “Only an old maid,” as I pass by a group of young girls still in their teens. They probably consider old maids an abomination, and not to be tolerated in proper society.

Girls assume that an old maid was too particular when she was a young maid, or else they fancy she had no chance to become a wife. I know some old maids who have become such because the men who offered themselves were unworthy; men who would not make good, faithful husbands in time and for all eternity. Are such old maids not more to be honored than the women who throw themselves away on drunkards and worthless, wicked men?

There are some who sneer at old maids; but lend your consideration for a moment to some of the old maids engaged in public labor. Some of these most honorable single women have been called to high positions in this Church. These women are always at their posts, full of integrity and good works, cheerful, kind and thoughtful.

Even at such women, a scoffing word is thrown; people will say, when she does her duty well and faithfully, “It’s no more than she ought to do, she’s an old maid with nothing to do.” Her reverence for the older sisters and her care and tenderness for the young are accepted as a matter of course. Her testimonies and good words are listened to listlessly, for she is “only an old maid.”

Married sisters are very glad of an old maid in the family, for they can usually impose on her to their heart’s content.

Will not faithful, hard-working old maids gain as great a reward as many mothers? Aye, more than most. For, as a rule, they are faithful over a few things.

I would not advise girls to choose to be old maids; few would prefer such a life. But in my heart I revere and honor the maid who has refused to wed unworthily, and who prefers single blessedness to marrying a man who was not worthy to be married in a Temple. Let your hearts, girls, go out in honor and love to such a noble, faithful woman, and ask God continually to crown her with blessings, if she is “only an old maid.”



  1. I think I like this post because of the author’s tone of lecturing young women.

    Comment by HokieKate — April 24, 2012 @ 7:27 am

  2. I fancy this post, if only for the archaic use of the word fancy.

    Comment by The Other Clark — April 24, 2012 @ 2:45 pm

  3. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Thanks for sharing this gem, Ardis.

    Comment by Keri Brooks — April 24, 2012 @ 3:47 pm

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