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A widower seeks a wife

Monday, October 25, 2010

Oy, I've become the laziest blogger in the world.  Honestly, amongst other things, it's getting harder to find great ads to write about!  I've been slowly but surely making my way through my collection.  It's not that I don't have hundreds (actually thousands) of ads, but they aren't equally fun and interesting.   However, I will persevere!  The good news is that I have barely scratched the surface of what's available out there, and some very minor digging online will enable me to find hundreds (or even thousands) more ads for your viewing pleasure.  It's just a matter of time.

That aside, I have an interesting one today; I actually thought I'd written about this awhile ago, but a search of my blog comes up empty, so I guess not.


A widower, under 40, desires to make the acquaintance of a maiden or widow lady, under 28, with the view of matrimony.  He is engaged in a highly respectable business, of gentlemanly manners, and of undoubted character and habits.  He is also the possessor of moderate property.  As he is sincere in this he desires no frivolous replies, and will furnish to any lady every evidence of his being all that he will represent himself to be.  The lady must be pretty, and a blond, if possible, and a resident of New-York or Brooklyn.  She must also be of respectable connections, educated amiable and affectionate, and of ladylike manners, and the possessor of some property - the latter is not indispensable, however.  Address C. Lefevre, Broadway Post-office

This kind of ad is really quite common but there are a couple noteworthy things about it.  First of all, I love how he describes himself as "under 40."  Presumably by that he means about 38 or 39, but it's such a funny thing, because why not just say, "38"?  Not only does it potentially save you a little money, as it could make your ad shorter, but it's also not a big deal!  I mean, if he was "over 40" I would get wanting to be a little more vague, but younger is always a good thing, right?  Even back then, when it was not untypical for a very young woman to marry a man much older than herself, obviously she'd prefer to be with someone closer to her age.  So a man in his 30s capable of supporting a wife (as the idea was that a man should not get married until he could, thus the frequent age disparity) would be a nice draw.

And he does want a much younger wife.  Specifically, a wife "under 28."  Really, C. Lefevre?  There is nothing less appealing to me than a man who refuses to get involved with women his own age, like they're "too old" for him.  Yeah, I get that this was the norm, and maybe it's because he wants kids and erroneously figures anyone much older than 28 won't be able to have any. (Also, a "maiden" in her late 20s would have been considered a spinster, so I guess in his mind that's not that young?  Maybe?) Still, not only that, but she must be pretty and a blond.  I'm trying very hard not to dislike you, C. Lefevre, but you're making it very difficult for me.

However, he does redeem himself at the end.  Like men often did, he would like to meet a lady with property, but then concludes by saying it's not indispensable, so that's nice.   At least he's willing to support this pretty 27-year-old blond.  Man I sound cynical this morning!  I will find something cheerier next time I post.  Which will hopefully be Wednesday.

©2010 Pam Epstein

1 comments:

Cari Hislop October 26, 2010 at 11:08 AM  

So does this mean he wouldn't marry the kind yet plain blonde with property or the pretty brunette who thought he was the best thing since tea cake?

If I was tempted to reply my first question would be, "Was your first wife an amiable affectionate educated pretty blond with property?" If yes, I'd throw his letter in the fire. Who wants to be a dead woman's doppelganger? Who's cynical now? I think I need to go buy some carrot cake...any excuse to put off work for a few more minutes.

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