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Sunday, May 1, 2016


Post by Doris McCraw/Angela Raines-author

With Winter and Spring discussing who will be in charge, the weather has not been conducive to being outdoors, or for major traveling. (As of this weekend, winter is winning as you can see by the photo I took on Saturday April 30, 2016). Taking a break from the Medieval short story I'm finishing, this post is a result of some library and online quick research. The subject: Matrimony and the mail order spouse business. The need of people to find love. I start you with this piece from the

Daily Alta California, Volume 25, Number 8439, 6 May 1873, from the California Digital Newspaper Collection.
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A quick look at 19th Century Newspapers and Newspaper Archive under Wanted-Matrimony and Mail Order Brides gave some additional information on this 'business' of finding a spouse and putting loneliness to rest.

The New York World in 1885 had the following ads:

A GENTLEMAN of 30 desires the acquaintance of a lady from 16 to 20, petite and blonde;driving,theatres and matrimony; enclose photograph and give full particulars.D'Enclos, box 18U World Office.

A GENTLEMAN, aged 32, desires the acquaintance of a lady about 20, brunette and tall; theatres and matrimony; Enclose photo and full particulars. Address
Myron, Uptown World Branch Office, 1238 Broadway.

A GENTLEMAN, 30 years of age, wishes to meet a well-to-do widow. A, B. C., box H3 World Office.

A GENTLEMAN of means desires a lady correspondent; one living out of town preferred. Address Cirayson, box 34 New York World Office.

And the ads were not just men looking for women. In the same issue these two ads appeared.

A REFINED WIDOW, aged 33 desires the acquaintance of a refined gentleman, suitable age, with means, matrimonially inclined; no triflers need answer. Address box 4,4Th Ave

A LADY desires acquaintance with wealthy gentleman; view, matrimony, B. A., World Office, 554 3rd Ave

So you can see, there was no end to ways men and women tried to find each other. Chris Enss wrote a book called "Pioneer Hearts: True stories of Mail Order Brides on the Frontier.” While I enjoyed her book, what caught my eye were her resources. Three pages, front and back listing books, newspapers, private letters in University Libraries. The researcher in me wanted to spend the rest of the year hunting them down. But I stayed put.

But not everything was bliss, as I'm sure you all know. Even as late as 1922 there was still businesses trying to answer the need of finding wedded bliss. Here in part is a piece of that news.

Hamnimonton, N.J. Aug 18.Hamnionton's "'cupid court" blew up with a bang today and 2,000 persons who applied to the Co-perative Lovers Union for mates will have to go out in the open market.

So the next time you think you have a hard time finding love, just look to the past. Until the next First Sunday of the Month, I'll be writing, researching, and hopefully finishing up the Medieval, The Twins and the paper on Colorado Women Doctors. Have a wonderful Spring!

Angela Raines is the pen name for Doris McCraw. Doris also writes haiku posted five days a week at - and has now passed one thousand haiku and photos posted on this blog. Check out her other work or like her Amazon author page:

One Christmas Knight




  1. Doris,
    It's surprising how prevalent this was. It was the historical version of LOL. Great post!

    1. Kristy, that was my thought also. What people won't do to find the 'perfect' someone. Thank you for stopping by. I love reading how people respond to what I find so fascinating. Doris

  2. In some ways things never change! There are a lot of stories between the lines here like the gentleman who wishes to meet a well-to-do widow. I wonder how that ended! Thanks for posting this fun read.

    1. You are welcome Patti. To me, this snipets have the potential for some great stories. Sigh. So many stories, and work gets in the way. I'd love to see what you come up with if you decide to write how it ended. **Smile**
      Thanks for stopping by. Doris

  3. Doris, what an interesting and fun post. I think way back then they didn't have the easy and fast means of travel or communication as we do today and if they couldn't find the available person they were looking for in their own home town, then that would have been the only way to do it--at least cheaper and faster way then roaming across the wide open country side. Golly, if you think about it, we're really not all that different today. We still have the mail order bride/groom thing in all the internet "find your mate" type of agencies. I see oodles advertised all the time and basically the same, isn't it? Well sort of? Hmm..... So thank you for another entertaining post plus the info about Chris Enss's book and all the resources listed. I'm storing that name away for when I might get a chance to investigate it--after I catch up with my overdue writing. I have ANGEL OF SALVATION VALLEY on my list to read, I just have to find time to read it. Wishing you much success.

  4. Beverly, thank you for the kind words. I do hope you enjoy "Angel".
    That was the thing about this research, it rang so close to home to what we have today. The Chris Enss book is short, but full of some interesting people. However, like I said, the resource list in the back, priceless.


  5. Thanks for an interesting post. I'm in the process of writing my second mail-order-bride book because I find the subject so interested. Loved reading the actual ads, but found they didn't give a lot of info. Just ordered "Angel of Salvation Valley" for my Kindle and look forward to reading it soon.

    1. Agnes, Best on the next MOB book. They are endlessly fascinating.
      I think the reason for lack of information on the ads, the person placing it wanted to save money on the ad and not give too much away. Much like today, not wanting to defeat themselves before getting started. Of course, this is all speculation. In fact there is not a lot of primary sources on the subject. But we may get lucky and a new source will be found.

      I hope you enjoy "Angel". Doris

  6. I've written one very successful mail order bride series for another publisher, and now I'm trying again. Can lightening strike twice in the same place? I don't know. I'd like to think I do this as well as I did the first time, but time will tell.
    There's something very intriguing about this...and it's evident by the tons of MOB series on Amazon. And they're all successful.
    Good luck! Keep us informed.

    1. Celia, I believe talent will win out and your next MOB will also be a success.

      I agree, the subject draws people like flies to honey. Perhaps it's the idea of finding true love when least expected. Or just our inate sense of adventure. Whatever it is, we are hooked.