Charts & Graphs

Lonely Hearts

Personal ads from the past two hundred years.

Attractive Couple: He, 55, voyeur, retired, ex­pe­ri­enced in open re­la­tion­ships; she, French, 46, slim, ti­mid, cu­ri­ous, sen­su­ous; would like to meet sen­si­tive, ex­pe­ri­enced, and as­ser­tive couples or sin­gle male or female for erot­ique games of qual­ity. Photo and de­tailed let­ter appreciated.

—The New York Review of Books,

October 9, 1986

Whereas, on Saturday last, a lady, gen­teelly dressed, was seen to lead a string of beau­ti­ful stone horses through Ed­mon­ton, Tot­ten­ham, and New­ing­ton—this is to ac­quaint her, that if she is dis­en­gaged and in­clin­able to mar­ry, a gentle­man who was on that oc­ca­sion is de­sir­ous of mak­ing hon­or­able pro­posals to her; in which state if he be not so happy as to please, he will readily pur­chase the whole string for her satisfaction.

—General Advertiser (London),

March 30, 1748

D.C. area: MWM, 40s, professional, desires nonen­tangling after­noon eroticism M–SWF, WCs. In­ter­est­ing, virile, ex­per­i­ment­itive.

—The New York Review of Books,

June 16, 1983

If the gentleman who met a lady in Grace­church Street, on the eve­ning of the ninth of No­vem­ber last, and walked with her to the lower end of Bishop­gate Street, and then waited till her return, and then ac­com­panied her into the city, will be at the exact spot where he waited for her, at eight o’clock on Wednes­day and Thurs­day next, she will meet him, hav­ing some­thing of im­por­tance to com­mu­ni­cate.

The Times (London),

September 10, 1811

Any gal what's got a cow, a good feather bed, with com­for­table fix­ings, 500 dol­lars in hard pew­ter, one that has had the measles and un­der­stands tend­ing chil­dren, can find a cus­tomer for life by writing a small billet box, ad­dressed “Z.Q.” and stick it in a crack of Uncle Eb­e­ne­zer’s barn, back side of the hen pen.

—An American newspaper,

reprinted in The Times (London), 1840

Three active and at­trac­tive young­ish fe­male li­brar­ians in­ter­ested in get­ting out from be­hind the stacks. Any sug­ges­tions?

—The New York Review of Books,

May 20, 1971

Young man, moderate cir­cum­stances and who has glass eye, would like to form the ac­quain­tance of young girl who also has a glass eye or some other de­for­mity not more se­vere; ob­ject, matrimony.

Coshocton Daily Age (Ohio),

August 17, 1903

San Quentin Convict. I am 26 years old, Ha­wai­ian, doing time for rob­bery. I’d dig hear­ing from chicks that aren’t hung up on middle-class Amer.-type life! If you’re into the com­mu­nal or­gan­ic bag, that’s outasite. Say­ing what you think and feel is beau­ti­ful. Don’t know any­one from Ca. as I got busted right after com­ing from Ha­waii, so it’ll be an ex­pe­ri­ence for me too. Will ans­wer all. Peace!

Los Angeles Free Press,


AKC Amherst Stan­dard Poo­dle, comely, fit, hyper­intelligent; mis­tress ditto, seeks strong-bodied man, c. 50, of wit and gentle dis­po­si­tion, for pad­dling, woods walking, hus­bandry, het­ero­glos­sia. No dogs or mar­ried men need apply.

The New York Review of Books,

October 21, 1993

A timid young man of retiring dis­po­si­tion and rather sickly wants to meet a young lady who would make a good nurse and respectable-looking widow in case I should pass away.

Bismarck Daily Tribune (North Dakota),

April 21, 1915

Personal: Bachelor with 40 acres of excellent land would like to make ac­quain­tance of lady with tractor; ma­tri­mony in mind. Please send picture of tractor. Box 325476, Atwater.

Indiana Evening Gazette (Pennsylvania),

March 5, 1957

Aural erotica with a naughty raconteur. Uninhibited, unhurried kinky fun and fetish friendly.

The New York Review of Books,

October 23, 2008

Matrimony—an early but thoroughly aristocratic mat­ri­mo­nial al­li­ance is sought by the at­trac­tive and only daugh­ter of an Amer­i­can mil­lion­aire, who will res­pond gen­er­ously with res­pect to set­tle­ments, in case of a suit­able en­gage­ment. A British title is pre­ferred, but a dis­tin­guished or well-descended foreign noble­man not ob­jected to. Ad­dress “Am­bi­tions,” under cover to Editor, 103, New-Oxford Street, Lon­don, W.C.

The Marriage Gazette (England),

reprinted in the New York Times, November 1895

Nudist WM 32, in-shape fitness buff. Look­ing to meet other in-shape male nud­ists, any age, to hang out and spend some nude time to­ge­ther. Watch­ing TV, surf­ing ’net, sun­ning in the sum­mer, nude travel, etc. Father/son family nud­ists also welcome!

—Chicago Reader,

February 14, 2004