The Comic Strip that inspired a nation – is it still practiced?

A comic strip created a national phenomenon across the America in the late 1930’s that is still celebrated today.

Women inviting men out on a date is more accepted today, but this was almost unheard of before 1937. alfred gerald caplin2

Alfred Gerald Capp’s was the writer for a popular hillbilly comic strip, Li’l Abner in the 1930s.

In his daily strip on November 15, 1937, one of the characters “Sadie Hawkins, the daughter of one of Dogpatch’s earliest settlers, Hekzebiah Hawkins, the “homeliest gal in all them hills”, grew frantic waiting for suitors to come a-courtin’. When she reached the age of 35, still a spinster, her father was even more frantic—about Sadie living at home for the rest of her life. In desperation, he called together all the unmarried men of Dogpatch and declared it “Sadie Hawkins Day.”sadie_hawkins_crop

“A foot race was decreed, with Sadie in hot pursuit of the town’s eligible bachelors. She specifically had her eye on a boy who was already in a courtship with the cute farmers daughter Theresa. She was the daughter of the areas largest potato farmer Bill Richmand and unlike Sadie, had a lot of courtship offers. Stud-muffin Adam Olis was her target and because the engagement of Miss Theresa and Adam wasn’t official he was included in the race. With matrimony as the consequence of losing the foot race the men of the town were running for their freedom. Turned out Adam Olis was in 4th place out of 10th leaving John Jonston Sadies’ catch of the day.sadiehawkins_post

The town spinsters decided that this was such a good idea, they made Sadie Hawkins Day a mandatory yearly event, much to the chagrin of Dogpatch bachelors. In the satirical spirit that drove the strip, many sequences revolved around the dreaded Sadie Hawkins Day race. If a woman caught a bachelor and dragged him, kicking and screaming, across the finish line before sundown—by law he had to marry her. The race took place between November 19, and November 30.”

The cartoon, inspired real-world Sadie Hawkins Day events and dances where girls ask boys out. In 1939, only two years after its inauguration, a double-page spread in Life magazine proclaimed, “On Sadie Hawkins Day, Girls Chase Boys in 201 Colleges” and printed pictures from Texas Wesleyan.

From Life Magazine on Sadie Hawkins Daysadie hawkins day 1955

sadielife2 - life magazine

By the early 1940s, the comic strip event had swept the nation and acquired a life of its own.

In 1952, Sadie Hawkins Day was reportedly celebrated at 40,000 known venues.

Even after Al Capps had Abner and Daisy Mae get married in the cartoon in the 1950s, Sadie Hawkins Day continued in the comic strip.

Sadie Hawkins day 1961

sadie hawkins 1961

It became a day-long event observed in the United States on the Saturday that follows November 9.

Do you have a special Sadie Hawkins Day memory? Share it in the comments below.

Check out all these books by Donna R. Causey

FreeHearts: 2nd edition A Novel of Colonial America (Tapestry of Love Series Book 3) Inspired by true events, Col. John Washington (ancestor of President George Washington), Randall Revell, Tom Cottingham, Edmund Beauchamp ward off Indian attacks and conquer the wilds of Maryland’s Eastern shore in 17th century colonial America in this historical novel.

About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She cohost the Podcast: Alabama Grist Mill and developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and

All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble.

She has authored numerous genealogy books.
RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE)
is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2)
is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series)
Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1)
is the continuation of the story. .

For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

One Response to The Comic Strip that inspired a nation – is it still practiced?

  1. Pingback: Al Capp Invents Sadie Hawkins Day - Sort Of - New England Historical Society

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