Personal advertisements have been around as long as newspapers themselves. If you're curious about what a "matrimonial ad" from the 1800s looked like, this is your book. Read it aloud and marvel at missives like:
"Gentleman, 38, height 5 ft., 9 in., weight 170, black hair, brown eyes, fair complexion, wishes to meet lady, 35 to 38, refined, normal weight, good looking, good teeth, not tired of society, and invest and accept half interest in a manufacturing business; can handle her own money; view to matrimony. Stamp for reply."
"I hereby give notice to all unmarried women that I, John -----, am at this writing five-and-forty, a widower, and in want of a wife. As I wish no one to be mistaken, I have a good cottage, with a couple of acres of land, for which I pay 2--- a year. I have five children, four of them old enough to be in employment; three sides of bacon, and some pigs ready for market. I should like to have a woman fit to take care of her house when I am out. I want no second family. She may be between forty and fifty if she likes. A good stirring woman would be preferred, who would take care of the pigs."
This book of 19th and early 20th century matrimonial advertisements--along with newspaper stories about romantic advertising adventures gone awry--will lighten your mood and reveal the unchanging optimism of men and women searching for love. The collection is organized by year, with ads from 1775 to 1918.
About the author: Laura Schaefer has been a feature writer at Match.com for almost ten years. She enjoys covering all aspects of romance for Happen Magazine, from history and science to trends and humor. You can find many of her articles about love and dating at Yahoo.com.
Laura is the author of The Secret Ingredient (Simon & Schuster 2011), The Teashop Girls (Simon & Schuster 2008) and Man with Farm Seeks Woman with Tractor: The Best and Worst Personal Ads of All Time (Thunder's Mouth Press, 2005). She is also the founder and publisher of Planet Explorers Travel Guides for Kids. The series includes titles covering Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Disneyland Paris, Universal Orlando, LEGOland Florida, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, New York City, Philadelphia, Las Vegas and Chicago.