The Massachusetts Historical Society will host “The Emergence of the Marriage Market,” a virtual conversation with Lindsay Keiter, Pennsylvania State University, with comments by Ellen Hartigan-O’Connor, University of California, set for Tuesday, January 18th.
This program will look at the time when Americans began using the term “the marriage market,” and what that tells us about society at the time and traces the emergence of the concept of marriage as a market subject to supply and demand to the early nineteenth century.
Marriage brokers — professional matchmakers — and matrimonial advertising attracted both clients and controversy. The metaphor of the marriage market reflected the entanglement of the sentimental home created by marriage and the competitive chaos of the expanding antebellum economy.
Illustration: “New England Factory Life – ‘Bell Time'” by Winslow Homer for Harper’s Weekly, July 25, 1868.