• Suzanne Norquist

Let Me Tell You How Beautiful I Am

Updated: Sep 3

. . . or rich. And I am looking for someone equally beautiful and rich to marry. This seems to be the theme of many ads in Matrimonial News, published throughout the 1870s, ‘80s, and 90s.

Without digital cameras, the reader had to rely on a subjective description. Maudie, in the article above, claims to be beautiful, exquisite and have well defined features. Wow. Who wouldn’t be interested? She is particular about the gentleman she seeks. Could a man grow a mustache to meet this requirement? Or did he need to already have one?

And, why must he have knowledge of foreign languages? Not a specific language. Does she speak French? What if he speaks Spanish? I’m not sure what “money no object” means. Perhaps she will take a poor man as long as he has a mustache and speaks foreign languages.

Not all were trusting. Here is one who requested references.

I wonder if the “good girl” should ask for references. It seems convenient to say he is a stranger in the city.


A surprising number of ads list assets.

This guy sounds like a catch. An engineer with money in the bank. And he is looking for someone to be an “ornament to society.” Is that a way of saying “trophy wife?” But what about the florid complexion? I had to look up the word. Florid = having a red or flushed complexion. What an odd detail to include.


A few tried to be poets.

This guy seems to want a wealthy wife. “Stocks and bonds and gold?” He says nothing of his own character or worth. He is a poet. That must be worth something.

I keep trying to picture this, and all I see is a big, goofy kid. Maybe that is what some girl is looking for.

Perhaps these ads are more honest. But I can’t imagine listing my net worth in the paper for any reason. If the girl truly only wants a husband with a mustache, it is good to know upfront. Information like personality, interests, and such can come later. After all, that is what makes an exciting Mail Order Bride story.

#HistoricNewspapers #History #MailOrderBride

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