It was quite surprising then, for people to publicly mention their involvement with a matrimonial agency, like this couple in the April 26, 1903 edition of The Sunday Oregonian.
These advertisements didn’t always lead to happy endings, unfortunately.
Personal ads have been around for over 300 years in different forms and variations.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, “matrimonial agencies” were often called upon to deftly and confidentially assist bachelors and old maids over the age of 21 to help with the shameful problem of singledom.
Of course there have always been those particular youth who are bolder and more independent than their peers.
These brave souls took it upon themselves to post their own personal ads without the help of matrimonial agencies.
You can find your own favorites, be they sweet or scandalous, at
Personal ads have been bringing couples together for over 300 years and been taboo for nearly the same length of time.
Luckily for today’s singles, online formats have made dating advertisements and profiles a more accepted way to meet people.
Matrimonial agencies often had their own circulating publications, but they also frequently created newspaper ads in local newspapers on behalf of their clients, taking advantage of the near-ubiquitous newspaper readership of that time.
Although it was certainly useful to ask a matrimonial agency for help, it was also quite embarrassing and not something a respectable couple would outline in their marriage announcement.
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These agencies collected correspondence from hopeful ladies and gents and relayed them to prospective matches, preferably resulting in a marriage.