Join me for the first of two parts–For Sale: WIFE. Victorian American Newspapers of the mid- to late-nineteenth century (and early 20th century) illustrate the extinct custom of wife selling and wife trading. The newspaper article featured in this blog post showcases this antiquated approach to marriage (and wives as chattel–literally, a man’s property) as part of a greater, overarching problem of crumbling morality.
Fans of Mail-Order Bride Romances adore reading about courageous women who left home, headed west, and risked everything for a brighter future. We admire brave men who sent for a bride with no more courtship than letters could provide. We enjoy the conflict, hurdles, and challenges the characters face before earning their happy ending.
Did any of this stuff happen in real history?
Did real life mail-order bride arrangements become love-matches?