Marcia A. Zug’s 2016 publication, Buying a Bride (New York University Press) is a timely narrative of the history of mail-order brides, from colonial days in the Americas (French and English) through the growth and westward migration of the United States, and into contemporary times. The nonfiction work is an easy read, informative, amusing, enlightening, and draws heavily from original sources. Ever wondered about the TRUTH behind mail-order brides–whether in today’s news, as a setting for favorite Old West Romances, or even pre-Revolutionary War? This five-star nonfiction book is for you!
I endorse newspaper articles as an original source in researching Victorian-era America. Yet while I trust–for the most part–newspaper articles to be a reasonable representation of attitudes, circumstances, happenings, and differing opinions, I’m well aware that not everything in print is fact…at least as presented.
I came across newspaper articles mentioning Mrs. Charlotte Smith, presented as a rather ridiculous woman seeking legislation to force marriage upon the matrimony unencumbered. Three such articles follow, all of which are from credible, well-respected newspapers of the late nineteenth century. At the bottom, I’ll share more of who Mrs. Charlotte Smith was, the platforms she supported, the work she did–and cast an entirely different light on her nature than these newspaper reporters suggest.