First, I want to thank all of you for welcoming me to Petticoats and Pistols. I’ve been sitting here at my desk trying to think of what I would say if I was placing an ad for a spouse. It’s a daunting task, believe me. But hundreds of men and women did just that in the Old West.
Numerous newspapers ran ads for mail-order brides, but the one who took it most seriously was a San Francisco matchmaking newspaper called the Matrimonial News. In its own words it was dedicated to ‘promoting honorable matrimonial engagements and true conjugal facilities’ for men and women through its personal ads.
Each edition began with the same words: ‘Women need a man’s strong arm to support her in life’s struggle, and men need women’s love.”
I’m not sure women today would respond to that call, but in its day the Matrimonial News claimed to successfully bring together
three thousand couples.
For twenty-five cents, a man you could place a forty word ad if he agreed to accurately and truthfully describe his appearance (height, weight) and his financial and social position. Ads were free for women. Because no one wanted to reveal their name, the newspaper assigned a number to each ad.
The following are two examples of the profiles listed in the Matrimonial News:
245 – I am fat, fair, and 48, 5 feet high. Am a No. 1 lady, well fixed with no encumbrance: am in business in the 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.
292- A girl who will love, honest, true and not sour; a nice little cooing dove, and willing to work in flour.
I’ve always been intrigued with mail-order brides and was delighted when the opportunity presented itself to do connected
mail-order bride novellas with my good friend, Jillian Hart. We were both interested in railroads so we have our two brides befriending each other as they come West on the train. Each one gets off at a different train station in the Montana Territory and both of them are surprised at what they find. I won’t say any more as you will discover their respective challenges for yourself if you read our Mail-Order Christmas Brides. I will tell you that my heroine, Eleanor McBride, gets off close to where the small town of Dry Creek is developing (I have a long-running contemporary series set there) and Felicity Sawyer gets off the train in Angel Falls (where Jillian Hart has her series).
I’m curious what you think about mail-order brides. Would you marry someone based on a few letters? Just the thought makes me nervous.
Fortunately, I have a less risky proposition for you. If you post a comment, you will be entered for a chance to win a copy of Mail-Order Christmas Brides. The good thing is that you don’t need to take any vows at all.
To buy Mail Order Christmas Brides Click Here