Before the internet, people had to try and contact others in other ways – including the personals in newspapers. This meant a large array of mysterious private information could be found in every local rag – leading to those outside the circle wondering just what had gone on.
For example in the Daily Mail on 4 May 1896 Bessie’s family were begging for her to contact them, promising no further reproaches. I think a nagging mother worried about her daughter’s boyfriend choices has led to a family divide here. Or am I just reading my own life experiences into it? Well you do, don’t you?
“Multiple Classified Advertising Items.” Daily Mail [London, England] 4 May 1896: . Daily Mail Historical Archive. Web. 20 July 2015.
Then there is Ivy who is drowning in marriage proposals but still thinking of “Oak” who made so many promises at the circus. I would like to say that “Oak” should have been in contact by now or he is just not that into you – a modern solution for a problem now over a hundred years old. This makes me a wee bit sad. I mean I want to know that Ivy and Bessie came out of all this ok?
Then there is Uncle Jim who sounds best left alone despite his niece’s pleas – but then again just what did he pawn? Diplomacy is also evident in the personals with a ‘’gentleman who took away by mistake” being kindly asked to return the trap and pony that had been left outside the Star and Garter. I mean it could have been taken by mistake? A pony and trap does not have its own pair of individual keys to make it go.
Reading these handful of personals from the Daily Mail Historical Archive 1896-2004 reminds me that problems never really change – money, love and family. Mums still make daughters crazy, men still make romantic promises they fail to keep, and people still lose things outside the pub today – just like they did 100 years ago.