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1800s: Aristocrats Catch On Always on the lookout for ways to exploit media for their own ends, aristocrats in the 1800s used personal ads to broadcast their interest in romantic engagements that seem scandalous by today's standards.
1695: The First Personal Ads According to history professor H. Cocks (seriously --The Best Name Ever for an academic) personal ads began as a way to help British bachelors find eligible wives.The popularity of personals paved the way for grifters who soon realized that they could prey on the vulnerability of people seeking love.Scam artists caused a scandal that many newspapers ran with, and personals disappeared practically overnight as public attitudes became more cautious.(Farmers Only continues the legacy to find "where all the country girls are" today.) Some very pragmatic examples of early 20th century personals: HOUSEKEEPER: 18 to 30 years of age, wanted by widower, 40.Have prominent position with the rail company, have 75-acre ranch also house in town; object matrimony if suited; have boy 13 years old, would not object to housekeeper having child. Young woman, reared in luxury, having lost everything and earned her living for the past eight years, is tired of teaching and wishes a home: would like to meet a well-to-do businessman who would appreciate refinement and affection in a wife. If only these two had found each other's personals then.....She convinced the editor of the Manchester Weekly Journal to place a small ad stating she was "seeking someone nice to spend her life with." (It's radical, I know.....) A man responded to Helen, but it was not the man she was hoping for.
It was the mayor, who had her Women asking for what they want -- clearly delusional to 18th century dudes.
These kinds of ads were especially fashionable among lonely soldiers during World War I.
1960s: Counterculture and Computer Love Removed from the context of wartime, old stigmas crept back in.
One of the earliest personals ever placed was by a 30-year-old man, with "a very good estate', announcing he was in search of 'some good young gentlewoman that has a fortune of £3,000 or thereabouts." (£3,000 is equivalent to roughly £300,000 today.
#Shamelessly Seeking Sugar Momma...) 1700s: Personal Ads for Homosexual Safety Personal ads were one of the only ways for the gay and lesbian communities to meet discreetly and safely at this time.
Phishing, fake profiles, and ads for escorts continue this tradition today.