The Matrimonial Bazar. A Monthly Journal, Devoted to the Interests of Love, Courtship and Marriage (Chicago, IL) May 1876.
Long before there were online dating services there were singles ads. Local or community newspapers often have a section of advertisements for men seeking women, women seeking men, and a variety of other combinations. SWF and DBM are well-known acronyms to those who still enjoy reading the entries (or even dare respond to them) today.
The Matrimonial Bazar was a nineteenth-century monthly periodical from Chicago filled with these advertisements, as well as articles for those wishing for a cure from their loneliness. This particular issue has articles such was “Wife Getting Made Easy” and “The Road to Marriage.” It states its purpose as “a discrete medium for advertisements, whether for matrimony or amusement.” Though they didn’t use acronyms, and the mix of requests by seekers was more homogenous than in the twentieth century, these nineteenth-century advertisements would not be out of place today. Some are quite whimsical. Here are some examples:
A professional gentleman, of means and rank, age 28, strictly temperate, who covets the pleasures of home, and the society of a loving wife, above all else, desires the acquaintance of a lady of good looks, refinement, culture, and musical qualifications. Brunette preferred. Highest references given and required.
A physician, in Illinois, plenty money and lucrative practice, wants a good wife. Am 28 years of age, height 5 ft. 10 in, weight 165 lbs, dark hair, blue eyes, fair complexion, handsome. Will 605, 573, 578, and others please reply. Ladies, it will pay you. I mean business. Must be accomplished and pretty. No blonde need apply. [Note: the numbers refer to the identification numbers given to each advertisement.]
I am 19 years of age, been to school all my life, and don’t know anything. Would like to hear from some gentleman who knows less, and wants a wife with lots of money. Address Know-Nothing, Box 160, care editor.