Friday, January 15, 2010
If he wasn't dead. And I was crazy. And if he ever existed. Whatever - I love this ad:
I am a young man of twenty-two summers, just come from my father's farm, in Westchester county, and seeing a lot of these advertisements in the Herald, I thought I'd put one in, so that after a while I might get married. Up my way the girls think me rather good looking, and I want to write to a girl that is real handsome and good sized. Money is no object, because as soon as we are married we will go right home to pap's farm. Address me, box 140 Herald office. Hope no one won't try to fool me. Reuben Mills.
This reminds me a bit of Hattie; the authors of these two would get along. (It also reminds me of the second of these two ads.) I refuse to believe it's real. I mean, come on! The language is so stereotyped that it's one big cliche. But ads like this drive me crazy because I have to wonder: if it's real, who is this guy? And if it's not real, who is wasting their money to print such drivel? Why go through the effort? In this case and in Hattie's, I can't imagine anyone would ever answer. If printing a matrimonial was free, then I could imagine putting up something this ridiculous just to see if there are any responses. But they weren't free - and at least for a time they were actually quite expensive.
And even if you were willing to put up the money for a joke ad just to see the answers, you have to make something tempting about them. Like if Reuben Mills was portrayed as really dumb but filthy rich, how many women would reply? It's so frustrating, knowing how fleeting these little tidbits are. I will never know who Reuben Mills really was. That makes me a little sad in a way - possibly because I just spent the entire day talking about newspaper ephemera, which was a reminder of the fact that although we've managed to save so much, there's even more than we've lost.
Oh well - Reuben's still good for a laugh.
Having trouble reading the ads? Click one to enlarge!
©2010 Pam Epstein