History Of Mail Order Brides: From The 1600s To Nowadays
These days, it’s impossible to be an active user of the internet and media without hearing about mail order brides at least once. We probably don’t need to explain that today: the term “mail order brides” is nothing more than an outdated expression and there are no legal services that allow you to pick a woman from a catalog, pay someone a significant amount of money, and have the woman delivered to your doorstep.
At the same time, things weren’t always like that. There was a long period in history when thousands of men found their wives through the mail or a catalog of mail order brides while in many cases, the brides themselves did not even have a say in their personal life. Find out about the history of the mail order bride trend: how it started and transformed until nowadays.
The first mail order brides in history
While there may have been an occasional marriage that was arranged through correspondence without the bride and the groom meeting beforehand, there was no record of such marriages until the early 17th century. Surprisingly enough, the first mail order brides were young women from England, who made wonderful wives for men living in the Jamestown Colony of Virginia. This is how the mail-order bride history started.
The Colony itself was doing well, but there was one significant problem: there were little to no women to have children, work around the house, help the men with odd jobs, and simply keep them company. As the last resort, the men decided to put advertisements in English newspapers inviting young, unmarried, and adventurous women to come and join them in the colony. At the time, England was arguably the best country for mail order brides: the women there were young, attractive, single, educated, and, most importantly, devout Christians. Plus, they were eager to leave England and look for better opportunities in the New World. Around 150 women arrived in the Jamestown Colony after seeing the men’s advertisements, and the whole operation is believed to launch the mail order bride craze.
The growing popularity of mail order brides in the 17th-19th centuries
Throughout the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, there have been several more waves of mail order brides. They came from different places and for different reasons. But all of them came to the United States, where the female population was still scarce. One of the most significant mail order bride programs was overviewed by then-King of France himself, Louis XIV. Over the course of a decade in the mid-1600s, France shipped around 800 highly eligible bachelorettes to the New France lands in North America. The French women arriving as brides were not only young and pretty, but they also came with a sizeable dowry that was also sponsored by Louis XIV.
Things went slightly quiet after the first few waves of mail order brides, but not for long. In the early-1800s, groups of North American settlers began moving further to the Prairies. They settled down, worked hard, and built communities. The one aspect that was once again missing from their lives was women. Some of those first explorers of the Prairies had wives and children, but most of them were bachelors who were not very happy with this arrangement.
By then, those lands already had a fully functional mailing system. These men were already in advantage compared to the ones that came before them. They began placing newspaper advertisements looking for potential wives and even corresponded with churches in the Eastern part of the continent, urging them to introduce them to eligible bachelorettes. Then, after finding each other to be a suitable partner for marriage, the man and the woman began exchanging letters. This mail courtship usually did not last long — as soon as the man was ready to make the proposal, the woman would gather her belongings and board the train to the Prairies. Without a doubt, the couples still had a lot to learn about each other and some unions did not turn out to be happy. Still, the mail order bride system did help hundreds of single men and women find each other and live happily ever after.
Modern mail order brides
After people started to see how easy it was to obtain a wife through correspondence, more and more bachelors started putting an end to their loneliness this way. Most of the men seeking wives lived in the US and the UK, but the demographic composition of getting mail order brides changed. Instead of girls from Western Europe, Western men began paying more attention to beautiful singles from Eastern Europe and Asia.
No matter how developed technology and international communication became in the 20th century, there wasn’t significant growth in the number of mail order brides arriving in the US until the Internet became a force to be reckoned with. Since the early 1990s, there have been thousands of girls leaving their homes to find a partner. By the end of the 1990s, there were around 100,000 women ready to move to the US as mail order brides. At the time, Western bachelors could simply open an online catalog of brides, make the necessary arrangements, and wait for their mail order brides to arrive at their new homes.
At the same time, society’s opinion about mail order brides and men who chased them changed significantly. The US society believed men were taking advantage of the poor women who faced various limitations in their home countries. The mail brides themselves were viewed strictly as gold-diggers who would do anything for economic stability and a Green Card. The relationships between Western men and Asian or Eastern European mail order brides were pictured in a negative light in several popular movies such as Birthday Girl (2001), and it was clear it was time for a transformation.
In this day and age, you can no longer find online catalogs with Russian, Filipino, Ukrainian, Vietnamese, or Polish mail order brides for sale. If you value the beauty and personality of foreign women, you will need to invest a lot of time and effort into making the relationship work. Whether you love it or hate it, the concept of mail order brides is not what it used to be. Now you need to make sure you and your foreign bride are a good match before making that most important decision. However, in our opinion, it only makes the union between a man and his mail order bride stronger and more long-lasting than it used to be in the day of paper and online catalogs of brides.
The origins and history of the mail order bride phenomenon may not have been perfect, but over the years, it transformed into something absolutely acceptable. If you are busy or shy and are a big fan of women from a distant country, finding and marrying a mail order bride may be your best option. Check out the most effective, reputable, and affordable mail order bride sites in our reviews and find the one that will make your dream come true.
The mail-order bride industry originated in the American frontier during the 1800s due to two main factors: the presence of Asian workers and American men who migrated westward. These historical roots shaped the widespread practice, with Asian workers and American men seeking companionship and marriage through long-distance arrangements.
Mail-order marriages emerged in the late 19th century and continued into the early 20th century, with a peak between the 1880s and the 1910s. While such unions were most prevalent during this period, records of picture brides entering the US exist until the 1920s. The rise of mail-order marriages coincided with changes in US immigration laws and domestic events of that time.