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July 3

Saturday, July 3, 2010

I thought I'd look and see if anyone printed any interesting July 4 ads, but (of the newspapers I actually possess from that day in any year), I didn't find anything related to the holiday. But on July 3 one year, I found several good ads, all right next to each other. And there's one in particular that was a good find.

Augusta, Ga. - "I am lonely tonight, love, without you." Georgia.

A. Sent you immediately as you desired. Have not heard from you. See me this morning sure. A.

Beautiful eyes, black dress and gloves, white lace shawl, left Fifth avenue stage about 5 o'clock Wednesday, near Society Library - Vouchsafe interview to admirer who sat near by, spellbound. State particulars to avoid mistake. Address Discretion, box 215 Herald office.

Darling - Rely upon my undiminished love: I think of you constantly and long to see you alone. Sol S.

Fannie L.P. - Silence not my fault - Grand Opera House, Saturday matinee, same seat. Harry.

Laura - Send a long, explicit letter through Post office. We may be happy yet. H.R.C.
First of all, the great find. Anyone who's been reading this blog for a looong time might recall the two ads I blogged about last year to and from Sol S. Well, looky what I found! Here's another Sol S ad that I didn't even know about. But it's no surprise I missed it last time; it was published about a year and a half before the two I wrote about before. It is just amazing to me how long these relationships could last (see: Vine and Trellis if you don't believe me), given how many of them seem totally doomed from the start. A year and a half, at least, and probably longer, Sol S is devoted to this person who in the end just dumps him/her. Okay, some of you at the time thought Sol S's lover was letting him/her down gently, but I am still on the fence. I think it was kind of cold-hearted to break up via personal - and more so than ever when I see just how long this relationship lasted.

As for the others, mostly just more heartbreak and lovesick couples. Doesn't the first quote sound like it ought to be in a rock song? I wonder what Georgia was really quoting from, if anything. I like the super cheesy missed connection in there too. "Vouchsafe interview to admirer who sat near by, spellbound." My my. I love this though, I do, because people didn't actually say vouchsafe anymore by the time this ad was published. So the author is really recreating himself, in a way, as a romantic hero - you know, all "knight in shining armor" style. I like that. It's also kind of the point of part of my dissertation. And that's not trivial, because he's paying money to say this - exactly this. It's like buying an expensive costume to attend a masquerade ball. Except not really, but sort of.

Hmm. I should work that into my revisions. Pardon me.

Having trouble reading the ads? Click one to enlarge! ©2010 Pam Epstein


Anonymous July 3, 2010 at 5:58 PM  

These never fail to bring delight into my day--the ads themselves, of course, but also your commentary about them. Today, I particularly love that your note about period diction! So directly up my alley!

Pam July 3, 2010 at 6:39 PM  

Thank you so much!!

Cari Hislop July 5, 2010 at 9:17 AM  

Vouchsafed: I had to look it up. In my dictionary (that came with my Bean program) this was the sentence offered to show it's usage...

"You'd never vouchsafed that interesting tidbit before."

No indeed!

An alternative explanation: the lady might have recently gorged on old fashioned romances and used the word to ask the gentleman to move out of her way...maybe he was on the last seat in her row at the theatre. Maybe he used the word to identify himself to the lady..."I'm no psycho...I'm the man who vouchsafed your safe passage..."?

He must have been a man of hope if he paid money in the belief a particular woman would read that particular paper and recognize herself as The Woman. What if she did read it and then chickened out of meeting him and spent the rest of her life wondering...what if?
Your blog gives birth to endless stories!

Pam July 6, 2010 at 4:29 PM  

Cari - thanks! They really are fascinating to read! I always wonder what was really going on...

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