6 terrible love tips from history’s lonely hearts – The British Newspaper Archive Blog

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6 terrible love tips from history’s lonely hearts

Lonely hearts columns aren’t a modern phenomenon. Search our historical newspapers and you’ll find numerous examples of ‘matrimonial advertisements’ from the 1800s and 1900s.

The notices can often make for amusing reading. We’ve collected together a few of our favourites to provide you with some tips for finding love. You may or may not want to take the advice…

 

1) Be overly specific and insulting

An American woman advertised for a husband in 1920, advising that he ‘can have any colour hair except red’. She also specified that he must not be ‘fresh from Ireland’.
 
An advert for a husband in the Lancashire Evening Post in 1920

Lancashire Evening Post – Monday 29 November 1920
Image © Johnston Press plc. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

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In 1933, a newspaper claimed that a Nazi was searching for a woman ‘rectangular in body and soul’. His advert stated that no ‘dancing dolls’ should apply.
 
Nazi advert for a wife, printed in the Gloucester Citizen in 1933

Gloucester Citizen – Tuesday 14 November 1933
Image © Local World Limited. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

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2) Use emotional blackmail

A German architect placed this advert in 1894. It was worded it as if it had been written by his son, a ‘very pretty little boy, age a year and a half, who has had the misfortune to lose his dear mamma’.
 
A matrimonial advert mentioned in the Leeds Times in 1894

Leeds Times – Saturday 12 May 1894
Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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3) Be brutally honest about what you need

When searching for a wife in 1832, a man from Dorset bluntly stated that ‘I do not want a second family. I want a woman to look after the pigs while I am out at work’.
 
An amusing advert for a wife was mentioned in the Dorset County Chronicle in 1832

Dorset County Chronicle – Thursday 23 August 1832
Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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A student placed this romantic notice in a French newspaper in 1863. He declared that he wished to meet ‘a young lady who will advance him money to finish his university career’.
 
A curious marriage advertisement was reported by the Bedfordshire Times and Independent in 1863

Bedfordshire Times and Independent – Tuesday 04 August 1863
Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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4) Describe your best assets

In this advertisement from 1899, a Japanese woman said she had ‘cloud-like hair, a flowery face, willow-like waist and crescent eyebrows’.
 
A Japanese matrimonial advert was published in the Dover Express in 1899

Dover Express – Friday 10 March 1899
Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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5) Go on about your ex

A woman searching for a second husband in 1931 specified that he ‘must be a Naval man like her first’. This, she said, was because he was ‘one of the best and I think there is none to beat them’.
 
The Portsmouth Evening News printed a widow's advert for a new husband in 1931

Portsmouth Evening News – Friday 21 August 1931
Image © Johnston Press plc. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

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6) Never give up your search

This final notice appeared in 1924, describing a 106-year-old woman’s search for a husband. She stated that she was looking for the type of man she used to meet in the ‘good old Victorian days’.
 
A 106-year-old woman's search for a husband was reported by the Dundee Courier in 1924

Dundee Courier – Saturday 01 November 1924
Image © D.C.Thomson & Co. Ltd. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

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Have you found any entertaining lonely hearts stories in the newspapers? Tell us about them in the comments section below.

 

 

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