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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Doing additional research for Chapter Two I just ran across this quote in the Kansas City Star in 1899. This really encapsulates what a lot of other people were saying at the time, so I thought I'd put it up here so you could see an example of what the contemporary reactions were, and I'll continue to do so occasionally when I run across good ones:

For many men and women the 'personal' columns of a newspaper have a strong attraction and in some cases have even brought about a desirable change in human fortune.
There are men and women who have a tendency to speculate on the probable meaning of mysterious messages and to laugh over the desires of those men who long for wives and women correspondents. They look upon the authors of those 'personal' ads with an amused contempt. They [see] them as sentimental and ridiculous. But the 'personals' have a quality of mysteriousness and romanticism that is sometimes hard to resist.


So what did this author decide to do about the strong attraction he, apparently, felt? Why, posted a matrimonial advertisement in the newspaper, of course, and then rather callously reprinted all the letters he received for our viewing benefit. For me it's nice to have a couple rare examples of letters, but it must have been mortifying for the women involved.

Tomorrow or the next day I'll write out the text of one or two of these letters, if I can read them without going blind. Just to give you an idea of what I'm working with, here's an image of the article:



Yikes! If you can make that out I'm impressed. Unfortunately most of my sources are images scanned from microfilm, which is why the quality is often quite poor. I do my best to make them legible, but as the image above should make clear, sometimes it's impossible!

Having trouble reading the ads? Click one to enlarge!

©2009 Pam Epstein

1 comments:

Ms Avery June 20, 2009 at 8:12 AM  

Does that say "they rally them as sentimental", maybe?

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