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Classic Art: Look Before You Leap Year

Published: February 29, 2012

“Leap Year” by J.C. Leyendecker


"Leap Year by J.C. Leyendecker from February 29, 1908

"Leap Year"
by J.C. Leyendecker
from February 29, 1908

J.C. Leyendecker, who did more Saturday Evening Post covers than any other artist, couldn’t resist this madcap look at a spinster in leap year 1908.


Oh sure, I know. We have Leap Year so the calendar will correspond with the solar year, or the time it takes for the earth to travel around the sun . . .


"Oh sure, I know. We have Leap Year so the
calendar will correspond with the solar year, or the time
it takes for the earth to travel around the sun . . ."
from February 24, 1968


Tradition states that only in a Leap Year can a woman propose to a man. In that spirit, a gentleman named Robert Fontaine offered sage advice for any gent who was still on the home front in the “Look Before You Leap Year” of 1944:

WHAT with my squint, my stoop and my bulge, I don’t have to worry, but this is going to be a bad year for any men left over on the home front. Women who have been restrained by etiquette will now be able to use Leap Year as an excuse for wrapping some poor unsuspecting victim up in Cellophane and taking him home to mamma for the nuptials.
Out of the goodness of my heart, I have drawn up a few suggestions to help the male avoid any snares or booby traps which he may encounter this year:

1. Stay out of moonlight with women. Moonlight may become them, but it gets you.
2. Go easy on the alcoholic beverages. A slip of the lip may start a partnership.
3. Don’t be flattered by the type who tells you you are noble, generous, strong, fearless, handsome and talented. A woman in love is a poor judge of character.
4. Typewrite your letters and sign them with a nom de plume. Better still, telephone.
5. Grow a beard.

Cupid Running

6. Don’t visit a single woman without taking along a party of six as chaperons and witnesses.
7. Run like anything from a woman who;
(a.) fixes your tie.
(b.) asks you to take something out of her eye. (Oh, brother!)
(c.) requests your opinion of home furnishings.

8. Work hard, get plenty of sleep, see your dentist twice a year, and before you know it, it’ll be 1945 and you’ll still be single.


I have only been able to teach him one trick.


"I’ve only been able to teach him one trick so far!"
from February 19, 1944


Whether you stay single this year or not, have a great Leap Year!

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  • Charles Neumann

    Very cute, the cartoons and the poem. I had forgotten the Leap Year tradition until your article reminded me.