Matrimony, Inc.: From Personal Ads to Swiping Right, a Story of America Looking for Love by Francesca Beauman
Published: October 2020 – Pegasus Books
ARC courtesy of Wunderkind PR
The first personal ad in America ran in the Boston Evening Post in 1759.
California’s first personal ads were placed by women.
America’s most prolific female serial killer, Belle Gunness, found her victims through ads.
One of the strangest ads Francesca discovered was from 1903 in The New York Times: “Young man, moderate circumstances, and who has glass eye, would like to form the acquaintance of young girl who also has a glass eye or some other deformity not more severe…”
From the beginning, nearly all American personal ads mentioned money.
Advertising for love has been uniquely affected by time and place, but has also received criticism in nearly every format, despite being around for hundreds of years!
Francesa Beauman spent years scrolling old newspapers to bring these little-known gems to light, and is a champion for women’s history: her family bookstore, Persephone Books in London, reprints neglected work by 20th century women writers and is a fan-favorite of Lena Dunham and Benedict Cumberbatch!
Praise for Matrimony, Inc.
—Kathryn Hahn, actor
About the author:
My take: Matrimony, Inc. is a look at how people have met their match in America almost from the beginning. Author Francesca Beauman’s subtle wit sets the tone as she takes readers from early days in the country’s history to current time. The book is filled with facts, figures and anecdotes. Personal ads run from the extremely plain to the highly imaginative – all with the same intention: to find a person to marry. Readers with a casual interest in the socio-economic history of the US will find nuggets of data based on the population’s spread to the West through the 19th century. Overall, an interesting book.