Glens Falls in 1888 — Males wait tables in Leap Year

Maury Thompson
2 min readJan 19, 2022


Social organizations in the late 19th century often celebrated Leap Year with dances at which women would invite the men.

The Young People’s Christian Union of Glens Falls Methodist Episcopal Church came up with another way to turn the tables, pun intended, on social convention.

The Morning Star of Glens Falls on Jan. 27 reported that “young men” would be waiting tables at the group’s “Leap Year Sociable” at the church Sunday School rooms.

“This departure from the conventional custom of ladies waiting on tables will, it is hoped, prove a success,” The Morning Star reported. “The gentlemen, while waiting on the tables, will wear striking costumes.”

On Jan. 30, The Morning Star reported that the meal would be on the European plan, meaning a full course meal.

“Refreshments will be served in the parlors of the Methodist Episcopal Church tonight from five to 10 o’clock, giving business men a chance to get a first class supper and help the good cause at the same time. Drop in, gentlemen, and encourage the boys about fifty cents worth.”

“Gentlemen members” would be cooking, as well as serving.

“If you can’t come, please hand your invitation and fifty cents to a friend.”

Fifty cents in 1888 is the equivalent of $14.67 in 2022 dollars.

On Jan. 31, The Morning Star proclaimed the event “a novel and successful affair.”

The waiters wore paper caps and white aprons.

The event raised about $50 — the equivalent of about $1,467 in 2022 dollars.

The following were waiters: C.W. Long, N.R. Gourley, D.R. Long, Julius Barber, W.B. Griffin, A.W. Bellows, Bert Norris, Dell Budd, C.F. West, S.H. Day, F.E. Bullock, W.R. Cowles, C.W. Haviland, Seymour Murray

Cooks were C.A. Hine and Will Carter.

W.H. Norris handled cash, and younger members of the club sold candies.



Maury Thompson

Freelance history writer and documentary film producer from Ticonderoga, NY