Sunday, May 1, 2011

Matrimonial News

I found some samples of advertisements that appeared in the January 8, 1887, edition of the Kansas City printing of Matrimonial News. I found them interesting in comparison to what we see in the newspapers today and on the ‘how to find the right mate’ television commercials. I can’t even imagine anyone of these lonely souls getting replies, much less finding the happiness they so hungrily search for.

“A gentleman of 25 years old, 5 feet 3 inches, doing a good business in the city, desires the acquaintance of a young, intelligent and refined lady possessed of some means, of a loving disposition from 18 to 23, and one who could make home a paradise.”

“An intelligent young fellow of 22 years, 6 feet height, weight 170 pounds. Would like to correspond with a lady from 18 to 22. Will exchange photos: object, fun and amusement, and perhaps when acquainted, if suitable, matrimony.”

“A few lady correspondents wanted by a bashful man of 36, of fair complexion. 5 feet 5 inches tall, weight, 130 pounds. Would prefer a brunette of fair form about five feet, between 18 and 25 years of age. Object, improvement, and if suited, matrimony.”

“Wanted to correspond with a young lady matrimonially inclined who would make a young man a good wife: am of good standing and good family, strictly temperate, a professional man and will make a kind husband.”

“A lively widower of 40, looking much younger, 5 feet 7 inches high, weighing 145 pounds would like to correspond with some maiden or widow lady of honor who would like a good home, kind husband and plenty.”

“I am fond of fun, age 18, height 5 feet 5 inches, weight 140 pounds, have auburn hair, dark eyes; I want a gentleman correspondent, from 20 to 25. Object: fun and perhaps matrimony if suited.”

“I am fat, fair, and 48, 5 feet high. Am a No. 1 lady, well fixed with no encumbrance: am in business in city, but want a partner who lives in the West. Want an energetic man that has some means, not under 40 years of age and weight not less than 180. Of good habits. A Christian gentleman preferred.”

“I am a widow, aged 28, have one child, height 64 inches, blue eyes, weight 125 pounds, loving disposition. I am poor; would like to hear from honorable men from 30 to 40 years old: working men preferred.”

Hearts West: True Stories of Mail-Order Brides on the Frontier
Chris Enss
The Globe Pequot Press, 2005


  1. Paisley--Well. These leave a bit to be desired,yes? Like the one "a fair, fat lady....etc." At least she was honest.
    And the one of them wants a woman who is perfect--in body shape, looks, and ability, to, of course...keep a house in good order.
    Very interesting..Celia

  2. This is a hoot! I enjoyed reading them.

    Here's my want ad:

    A hardworking man who knows how to treat a lady right. Must bathe regularly, spit outside, and not track mud across my floors. He must be handy with a dust cloth as well as a dish rag. Fellows who don't look like a young Sam Elliot or George Clooney need not apply.

    who is actually happily married

  3. Paisley,
    Unbelievable requests. But I guess the same thing goes on today too. People are funny.

  4. I was surprised at some of these because I thought women were in demand in those days since they were scarce out west. Thanks for visiting me today, Celia.

  5. I have to agree with you on Sam Elliot, Maggie. His voice would be enough for me - I'd even dust to hear him read a romance to me while I am working. ;)

  6. Hi Jeanmarie. I am always amazed at what people put out in public to share about themselves. Doesn't seem we've evolved much over the years.

  7. Paisley, These are fascinating. At least the men were looking for "fun" rather than someone just to cook and clean.

  8. These are wonderful! Thanks for sharing them.

    I have to wonder what people of the past would think of some of the ads people put on the online dating sites these days.

  9. Hi Sandra, Aren't men always looking for fun??? ;)

    I do understand what you're saying. I thought some of the points of interest to be a surprise.

  10. Hi Lauri, I am shocked at some of the things people put out on their online dating sites. I can't even begin to imagine what the old west people would think!!!

  11. Paisley,
    What a wonderful post. I loved this. So interesting, and enlightening. I've always thought how awful it would be to pin your hopes on traveling out to a new life, new husband etc. that your mind has conjured up and then get there and find out... it wasn't what you thought and HE certainly wasn't the way you'd pictured him. Thanks for this post--I really enjoyed it.

  12. What a fun post. Loved the ads. I wonder if they are as different in appearance as some of those we've heard about from online matches?

  13. I had to chuckle, Caroline. Do any of us see ourselves as others do? It would be fun to hear the reactions of their first meeting.

  14. LOL- Great ads! They were more forthcoming than ads these days when it is so easy to look people up on the internet and see they are lying.

    Fun post!

  15. Celia, I can't wait to read Wish For The Moon. It sounds like a wonderful story.
    I thoroughly enjoyed this blog today. The lovelorn adds were so interesting. The more things change, the more they stay the same, right?
    Happy Mother's Day to you and all these readers. Linda


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