Before Tinder, Parship and Co. appeared on the Internet, singles looked for their dream partners through personals in newspapers. Employees at MyHeritage, a family history research company, have now searched US databases for the most interesting personals in newspapers.
These 19th and 20th century ads show how people found love (and marriage) long before Tinder. They shared their preferences with a marriage agency, which ran the ads in local newspapers. Interested readers contacted the newspaper, which in turn contacted the agency and then the respective single.
Similar to the various dating platforms today, the singles already said in the 1800s and 1900s what kind of relationship they were looking for (e.g. a “husband and faithful companion”) and what their best qualities were (“business gentleman” or ” believes in God ”). We have put together the best personals for you.
“I sacrificed my youth and fear a lonely future”
The ad of this “wealthy 30-year-old” appeared on October 23, 1898 in “The Atlanta Constitution”. She was looking for a “husband and true companion”.
This 44 year old widow wanted to impress with her poetic side
The text published on April 16, 1899 in the “St. Louis Post “appeared, reads:” Widow, 44, foreign foreigner, own home, would like to sweep the fireplace of her heart and let the cobwebs sweep away, marriage “.
Bachelors’ fortunes were often released to attract potential suitors
“We are looking for a husband for a maid”, it says in the headline of this advertisement from July 17, 1904 from the “Anaconda Standard”. Then it is listed who is available: “Lady, 23 years old, worth 8,500 dollars; Bachelorette, 31 years old, worth $ 28,000; Widow, 42 years old, no children, worth $ 90,000, and many more. “
The personals were also used to cheat unsuspecting singles
This Meriden Daily Journal article reports a couple cheating together on single men by responding to contact requests. They sent pictures of a pretty blonde or brunette woman and asked for money to visit the man. The bachelor who ran the ad was reportedly supposed to pay for the train ticket. So various men sent them loads of money – without ever getting any feedback.
In this case, the Bachelorette Flora Kable simply broke up with her admirer – even though he had already paid for the train ticket to visit her
The heading of this article from July 29, 1901 reads: “Moody woman found who was courted by a marriage advertisement and now does not want to marry”. It is reported that the widower John Reidendough paid $ 40 for train tickets and rent to visit 48-year-old Mrs. Flora Kable in Ohio. ($ 40 would be worth about 1,000 euros today.)
However, Mrs. Kable decided against the wedding after his arrival. Reidendough then reported to the police, who advised him to file a complaint for breaking his word and fraud.
Here a miner was abandoned by his lover while he was working
In the “Minneapolis Tribune” on January 31, 1904, he tells why it has not worked out so far: “An old bachelor who returns from the mines finds his old lover married to an old acquaintance, and now longs to meet a lady to marry.”
This “business gentleman” had pretty precise ideas about who would suit him
This marriage advertisement from September 11, 1921 reads: “A businessman, real American, hardworking and ambitious, 47 years old, height 1.75 meters, weight 68 kilograms, God-fearing, in good health and clean habits, attached to his home country, good character, business – and college education, of some fortune and sophistication, wishes to meet a single or widowed lady of some fortune and sophistication. ”
Then he made his demands on the future bride: “Christian, age 33 to 43, weight 56 to 65 kilograms, height 1.62 to 1.70 meters, stylish and well-groomed, but simple, loves music and can do a little make music, knows about the essentials of the household, has experience in everyday business life, typist and typist and accountant. Good woman in insurance and brokerage preferred to start a home in the near future where happiness and love should reign. “
But women also expressed their specific wishes
A 38-year-old brunette lady wrote in her marriage advertisement in the “Pittsburgh Press” on July 17, 1921: “Would like to hear from a good-natured gentleman who owns an automobile”.
This young gentleman, in turn, knew exactly what he was Not wanted
He wrote in the Pittsburgh Press on September 11, 1921: “Employed in the government, making a small but decent salary. Becoming a good husband and a happy home to any poor working girl aged 18-25 must be Protestant. Dancers, flirters or street prostitutes do not need to answer. “
This text was translated and edited by Hendrikje Rudnick. You can find the original here.