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Reviewed by Chrys Ankeny By Chris Enss TwoDot, imprint of Globe Pequot Press, Guilford, Conn. Personal ads for companionship or whatever have a rich tradition in America. Mail-order requests for brides were the natural result of the fact that out West, men could prospect for gold but rarely for respectable females.
The gals were mostly in the East, so the guys promised matches made in heaven, or at least in the Sierras. Sometimes things worked out for the parties involved, as with widow Elinore Pruitt of Arkansas, who answered an ad in the Matrimonial News and found 20 years of matrimonial bliss with honest Clyde Steward.
On the other hand, as author Chris Enss writes in the introduction to this delightful page work, teacher Eleanor Berry was not so lucky: If the Wild Wild West was ever going to be civilized, of course, women were needed, because without them, men rarely saw fit to build schools, libraries, churches or homes with flower pots in the windows. Of course, the women did not come West to live in poverty.
Promises of riches held considerable appeal to both soiled and unsoiled doves. Enss includes the personal advertisements that triggered unions of the sexes and then presents the tales with a flourish or two. Eleanor Berry answered a San Francisco Magazine ad on April 12, , that read: Please respond to Louis Dreibelbis in Grass Valley, California. One only wishes that there were more of these matchmaking tales she could tell.
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