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Ken
07-14-2008, 02:42 PM
tackling the beginning of my tale last,
I'm trying to decide how my main characters first met.
Think I'm just gonna go for a personal ad in a newspaper or magazine,
that one of them happened upon, which should work out okay.
(It would say something like, "Looking to meet so and so.")
One problem, though. The tale is set in the 1940's.
Not sure if personal ads were placed in papers back then?
Tried looking up the history of "personal ads" on Wikipedia, w/o success.
Please weigh in, if you can help me out on this matter.
Thanks.

L M Ashton
07-14-2008, 04:31 PM
You could always go to your local newspaper and look in their archives if they don't have it online. Or you could check the archives for major newspapers online and see how far back they go.

Ken
07-14-2008, 04:41 PM
great idea.
Didn't think of that.
Library by me has several major newspapers on MicroFilm,
going back to 1900's.
Thanks :-)

L M Ashton
07-14-2008, 05:09 PM
You're welcome. :)

RJK
07-14-2008, 07:47 PM
In that era, there were many people looking for room mates or for rooms for rent. There would have been ads for those, and your character may have seen an index card ad on a bulletin board at the market or the laundry (I'm not sure laundromats go back that far).

Ken
07-14-2008, 09:15 PM
very cool suggestion, too, RJK.
Never thought about the possibility of a bulletin board.
Gonna do some research on that, as well, and see what I come up with.
Thanks :-)

Tsu Dho Nimh
07-14-2008, 09:31 PM
Personals, and classifieds in the papers were definitely around. I have seen them from the late 1800s.

StephanieFox
07-15-2008, 12:24 AM
The Jewish Daily Forward had personals ads and a Advice to the Lovelorn kind of column for years and years. These might give you some tone. I know that the column's best were printed in a book published about 10 years ago. You might want to check. I think the book is still in print. Paperback, so cheap.

Ken
07-15-2008, 12:51 AM
thanks Stephanie.
Sounds like an interesting book.
I have to compose a fictitious ad,
so reading some samps beforehand will help.

ideagirl
07-15-2008, 06:29 AM
tackling the beginning of my tale last,
I'm trying to decide how my main characters first met.
Think I'm just gonna go for a personal ad in a newspaper or magazine,
that one of them happened upon, which should work out okay.
(It would say something like, "Looking to meet so and so.")
One problem, though. The tale is set in the 1940's.
Not sure if personal ads were placed in papers back then?
Tried looking up the history of "personal ads" on Wikipedia, w/o success.
Please weigh in, if you can help me out on this matter.
Thanks.

I collect antique magazines, 1900 through 1960s, and I've never seen personals ads. But I suppose if such things did exist, they'd be in the paper rather than a magazine, because a paper is more local. So I second the suggestion of looking in the archives. But I suspect you won't find anything--it would surprise me gigantically if personals ads existed in the 1940s. Mostly people met through friends--their own friends or, e.g., a girl might go out with one of her brother's friends.

Paichka
07-15-2008, 03:03 PM
IIRC, "The Lonely Hearts Murderers" used personal ads to find their victims. That was in 1947.

Slightly morbid, but still. Personal ads, 1940s. :)

jclarkdawe
07-15-2008, 05:27 PM
There is a Perry Mason mystery that involves a advertising personal ad magazine, sounding roughly similar to things like Truck Trader or Auto Trader. It sounded like it would be sold through drug stores and news stands. This would have been sometime between 1930 to 1960.

It sounds like it was a lonely hearts type thing. I can't remember the title of the Perry Mason off the top of my head, but if you want, I can look it up. Just send me a PM.

These things would have been trashed after their time had come and gone, so I doubt that any would be saved.

One source I'd try is going down to your local nursing home and ask. You'll probably have more information than you want.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Ken
07-15-2008, 05:45 PM
thanks :-)
Relieved to know Personal (Lonely Hearts) Ads were around in the 40's.
Have decided to go with RJK's suggestion about having the ad placed on a bulletin board, outside a post office or church.

I'm not going to specify the posted notice the MC is looking at is necessarily a personal ad, leaving it up to the readers to draw that conclusion, which saves me the difficulty of creating a fictitious ad. The implication is still there, though, so it's good I'm not making an anachronistic faux pas in suggesting ads were around back then.

Thanks again, everybody.

ps Good idea about going to a local nursing home, Jim Clark-Dawe, and asking questions about life in the 40's. Think I'll give that a whirl, if I can get permission. Firsthand accounts are invaluable.

IceCreamEmpress
07-15-2008, 06:48 PM
it would surprise me gigantically if personals ads existed in the 1940s

I am about to surprise you!

Personals ads existed in the 1840s. There's a great book that collects personals ads, going back to the 19th century, called Man with Farm Seeks Woman with Tractor by Laura Schaefer.

As you suggested, though, personals ads were more common in newspapers than magazines until the 1950s at least.

PastMidnight
07-15-2008, 11:53 PM
Personals ads existed in the 1840s. There's a great book that collects personals ads, going back to the 19th century, called Man with Farm Seeks Woman with Tractor by Laura Schaefer.



I am in no way researching this topic, but this sounds like a fabulous book!

Ken
07-16-2008, 12:47 AM
...this sounds like a fabulous book!

I second that.
Funny title, too :-)

ideagirl
07-16-2008, 01:20 AM
I am about to surprise you!
Personals ads existed in the 1840s. There's a great book that collects personals ads, going back to the 19th century, called Man with Farm Seeks Woman with Tractor by Laura Schaefer.
As you suggested, though, personals ads were more common in newspapers than magazines until the 1950s at least.

Wow, that's wild. I'd love to read a personals ad from back then--I wonder what they said, how different they were. And I think Paichka came up with the search term to use, for googling this: not "personal ads" or "personals ads" (that's the modern term), but "lonely hearts ad."

My favorite personals ads are in the London Review of Books. Scroll down to enjoy. There are always several really odd and/or witty ones:
http://www.lrb.co.uk/classified/

Smiling Ted
07-16-2008, 02:54 AM
In 1937, Miklos Laszlo wrote a play, Parfumerie, in which two fighting co-workers in a perfume shop don't realize that they're also one another's Lonely Hearts pen pals. The play was later adapted into three movies and a musical, including The Shop Around the Corner, She Loves Me, and You've Got Mail.

So personals go back at least to 1937.

ideagirl
07-16-2008, 05:04 AM
Oh, I love The Shop Around the Corner! Can't believe I forgot that!