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Friday, April 15, 2011

Friends, I only wish I had this option today.  Clearly I would no longer be single if I had someone like Madame Morrow to consult.  Look at what she promises!  This is for reals, guys.

Astonishing to all. - Madam Morrow, the seventh daughter, has a natural gift to tell past, present, and future events, and all the concerns of life, even the very thoughts, and will cause speedy marriage, and show the likenesses of the intended husbands and absent friends, and will bring together those who are separated, who will enjoy the greatest happiness of matrimonial bliss.  All who wish good luck may call soon for relief and comfort.  Thousands have expressed their belief that she is the  most wonderful astrologist in the world, or that has ever been known, though she practices nothing but what is reconcilable to philosophers.  No charge if not satisfied.  76 Broome street, between Cannon and Columbia.  Gentlemen not admitted.

Side note: did anyone know that there is a Cannon Street in New York City?  I sure didn't.  I thought maybe it was a street that has had its name changed or was destroyed when they were razing tenements in the 1930s.  But as it so happens, it is still there, right by the East River south of the Williamsburg Bridge.  And I call myself a tour guide.

Anyways.  The point is, I wish Madam Morrow was still around so she could bring about my speedy marriage, and even show me what my future husband is going to look like, and ensure that I will enjoy the greatest happiness of matrimonial bliss.  And I'm sure she could have too, because thousands believe that she is the "most wonderful astrologist in the world."  Wow.  That is quite a claim!  I think it's funny and kind of awesome that she won't have male clients.  I hate to say it, but I think women were probably a lot more gullible about astrology than men, and I bet she knew if men came they wouldn't believe her and might even reveal the tricks of her trade.

In any event, ads like this were actually fairly common in matrimonial columns.  And I think some of these people must have been fairly successful.  Madam Morrow printed this ad for months that I know of, and it can't have been cheap.  It's a good way to drum up business, of course, but she still had to have the money to afford it.  I also wonder who her clientele was.  The location was right in the midst of a growing German and Irish immigrant neighborhood that was not particularly wealthy, so she was practicing out of a tenement.  Were middle-class women making their way to the Lower East Side to meet Madam Morrow?  Somehow I doubt it, but I guess...maybe it would be an adventure, right?  If anything I would expect that she'd be getting the daughters of immigrants coming to her for advice, but to be perfectly honest with you, I don't know how literate they would have been when this was published (early 1850s.  I should totally know this but I don't).  Or how much money they would have had to spend on astrologers. 

Whoever they were, astrologers back then were clearly thriving.  But that's not surprising, given the number of astrologers you still see today.  Even on my own street I see signs for psychic readers.  Hmm.  Maybe I should visit one and see if she can find me a husband.

(I'm kidding y'all.)

©2011 Pam Epstein


walking tours nyc September 23, 2011 at 1:47 PM  

No need for a psychic, I am sure you will find a husband on your own! :-)

Anonymous February 27, 2013 at 6:07 PM  

Some pleople don't want to get married. Don't you wonder why?

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