Judge John H. Arbuckle promised divorces to unsuspecting men duped by mail-order brides from the East who padded their limbs, hips, bosoms or employed false hair or used cosmetic paints. Such elements of beauty were common in the Victorian American Era, at least among the wealthy. It must have been common enough among disillusioned bridegrooms for the Judge to rule (April 3, 1873) that “marriages into which a man is seduced by the use of (his list of offenses like makeup and padded breasts) without the man’s knowledge, shall stand null and void if he so desires”. Victorian ladies were guilty of nothing today’s generation hasn’t done. But just what padding devices and cosmetics were readily available in the early 1870’s?
- Scammers threw out baited hooks to entrap the unsuspecting…and “suckers” fell for it far too often. This article covers a few short newspaper reports of circumstances wherein the honest fell for scams and ultimately paid plenty.
- The Postoffice Department takes steps to Suppress a Matrimonial Bureau. [sic]
- Six young boys run a scam, presenting themselves as a wealthy widow seeking a husband.
Detective Clifton R. Wooldridge made a difference on the streets of wicked Chicago at the turn of the 20th century. Some of the 100 fraudulent matrimonial agencies he shut down are captured in newspaper articles from the era. A significant scam involving Mail-Order Brides, mentioning Detective C.R. Wooldridge is featured in this article.