HEARTS WEST: TRUE STORIES OF MAIL-ORDER BRIDES ON THE FRONTIER (GLOBE PEQUOT PRESS, $10.95)

/hearts-westPersonal ads are not only a craze of modern dating.

All throughout the 1800s, females were in scarce supply on the frontier, and men begged decent women to become their brides through newspaper classifieds. The trend was so popular that a paper called Matrimonial News was dedicated solely to connecting lonely hearts. Hearts West examines these ads, points out some harebrained schemes to recruit women for the masses of unattached men in the West and shares personal stories of successful—and disastrous—matches. More firsthand accounts and diary entries would add depth to this slim volume, but readers of all ages will marvel at the courage of men and women who make lifelong vows nearly sight unseen.

 

 

—Cynthia Green


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