Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Gentleman of 30, college graduate and practical mining engineer, who has spent the last ten years in the Western Territories and mining regions and is now the owner of valuable mines in Arizona which, if properly developed, will yield a large fortune within a few years, being alone in the world and without acquaintance in the East, desires to form the acquaintance of a highly respectable young lady of means, independently situated, well educated and refined, and of amiable and sympathetic temperament, with a view to a prosperous business partnership, or marriage if mutually agreeable. Address, in strict confidence, C.F. Spaulding, Herald office.
So many striking things about this ad. He does seem to know what he's talking about, being a trained mining engineer. And he has been out West for a long time. And there is a lot of mining out Arizona. But it's the "if properly developed" that makes me hesitate. If I were a lady in New York, where this ad was printed, I'd want a lot more reassurance than "if properly developed" before I moved to Arizona, which at this time was itself not remotely properly developed. That was still the real, real Wild West frontier. Plus, he clearly wants to invest her money to develop these mines ("business partnership").
On that note, I do find it amusing that he's all, "business partnership or marriage." If marriage was not important, why not ask for a lady or gentleman as a partner? But I guess he's saying that he hopes to get married but if things don't work out in that regard, he's okay with it.
Finally, what's he doing out East anyway? Granted there weren't a lot of women in the West, so if he really did want to get married, he wasn't likely to find a wife in Arizona. But even a prosperous businessman would be taking quite a long trip to get from Arizona to New York in the 1860s. There wasn't a transcontinental railroad yet, so it'd be a lot of hassle. I don't know - I'm kind of rambling along at this point. But it does seem like quite a lot of effort to find someone to be his wife only if mutually agreeable. Seems like you'd want a definite. Just like if I was a lady, I'd want to know for sure this was going to work out before packing up my bags. Cause if they don't make that fortune, she's going to be seriously roughing it.
Anyway, I have to run. Those are just some thoughts.
©2010 Pam Epstein