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Between the World Wars: Articles from the Syracuse Union, available through the New York State Newspaper Project


September 25, 1931 page 7

The Oldest German Marriage Newspaper

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Even before the inception of wedding advertisements, there was a proper marriage newspaper, which was called to life by Theophilus Fridrich Lorenz in Munich in 1799. Full particulars on this unique weekly periodical, the full title of which was Allgemeine Heiratsschule für beiderlei Geschlechter (Universal Marriage School for Both Genders,) were disclosed by Margit Zuman in Zeitungsverlag. The newspaper was issued every Tuesday and initially consisted of eight octavo sheets. As the number of subscribers grew the newspaper was enlarged to carry not just wedding advertisements but all kinds of entertaining items, which those, who were not contemplating marriage, would like to read. The publisher emphasized that the Heiratszeitung generated a sense of family, provided those, who were eager to marry, with help in planning an appropriate union, and steering people clear of the "ever pervasive corruption of morals." Mr. Friedrich Lorenz advocated primarily for "Love Marriages" however he considered a small or large dowry contributed by women desireable. He considered the marriage broker, who was only engaged for a fee, a capable consultant and he furnished advertisements for marriage experts, who were charged an extra 12 Kreuzer [approximately 60 pfennig or 33 cents in today's US currency.]

The first marriage candidate, who sought his happiness in this newspaper, was "a Protestant cleric of noble reputation and habits with a steady income of 600 Guldens."

His courageous offer soon attracted the first female to the plan, a "20 year old noble lady with a fair face." The pair entered into the bond for life. With this the ground was broken. The marriage advertisements were very substantial and consisted of two octavo sheets containing 31 lines of text. As an example, one such ad related a message which today might seem downright strange: "I bravely stand before you as a candidate for marriage. I'm about six and a half feet tall, measure an average of 17 inches [?], with a girth of not quite a Bavarian Elle (24 inches.)"*

*[According to measurements supplied by a Wikipedia article, a Schuh measured somewhere between 11 and 12 inches; an Elle 23 - 24 inches.]

"At age 27 I am a muscular man who's completely healthy. Of honest but poor parents who raised me, I have a pair of 1000 Florin coins left to me by a cousin in the clergy. I learned so much in academia that I could, if talent is rewarded, provide food and clothing for a wife and 30 children. As of now I am without employment, however I assist my father, a deputy. A female with 10,000 Florins could give my talent a boost, perhaps raising me up to a chief court clerk's position, because wide-ranging duties of the court require having one's own equipment. Without money at best I can be a deputy like my father, who at the beginning of my academic career said to me, 'Son, if you learn something you can become a lawyer. If you learn nothing, you can become a privy councillor.' — Since I feel mature enough for the cheerful and gentle nature of a female, I will await with all possible patience until a beauty finds herself ready to gaze upon me and take pleasure in my attributes. If she possesses the qualities I need a wife to possess, a gentle and cheerful nature which sees past her own displeasure and helps wipe the sweat from the brow of an overwhelmed working man, she will have the spunk to tell me similarly about her qualities and quantities in an open manner and thus become a twofold treasure to me, because she knows how to set aside any bias."

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Scroll down to see a few more articles on marriage from the Syracuse Union


June 22, 1922 page 6

A Calculation to Contemplate

At a social function a woman once asked Jean Jacques Rousseau what, in his opinion, were the attributes a young woman must possess in order to make a man happy in marriage. The famous philosopher took a piece of paper and drafted the following list: Beauty, 0; Thriftiness, 0; Intellect, 0; Money, 0; Kind Heartedness, 1. The woman looked up astonished as he handed her the list. "Are you really serious?" she asked. Rousseau nodded. "Certainly," he declared and smiled. "If a young woman has nothing other than a good heart, she would deserve one point. If she had beauty or money, then she'd have 10 points. But if she were also in possession of other good attributes, by my estimation she would have 100, or 1000. And if she incorporated many fine qualities the calculation would rise to 10,000. But without a good heart — and you may trust me on this — all the other attributes only amount to a row of zeros."

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June 5, 1925 page 9

Remarkable Paths to Marriage

Everyone knows that love is inventive. The god of love has amazing ways and means of bringing two hearts together. Among the strangest messages reported in English magazines is the letter in a bottle. In the small town of New Liberty in the United States the girls had little prospects of marriage because there were only a few young men. One eager-to-marry beauty placed a description of her charms and her desire to find a good man in a bottle and placed it in the tiny stream, knowing that it flowed into the mighty Mississippi. The bottle made it to the Mississippi and was accidentally fished out by a young farmer in Louisianna, who answered the letter. A long exchange of letters ensued and when the two finally met they thought they would make the bond for life because they had known each other for so long.

An egg is also a novel messenger of love. The daughter of a chicken farmer, who collected eggs daily and packed them for shipment, used an egg to send her address and express her desire for marriage. When the shipment made its way from her home in Missouri to New York it was placed in a cold room where many employees saw the wonderful inscription. Then the egg made its way to its final destination in New London, Connecticut. A young clerk found the egg at this breakfast table. By the time he sent his proposal to the lovely lady she had already received two other letters. However she chose the consumer of the egg as the true addressee.

A young lady was extremely surprised when at the previous night's Christmas party she found a message of love in a nut that she cracked open. A young planter in Brazil had chosen this unusual method. He bored a hole in the nut and inserted his rolled-up love note into it, then sealed the hole with wax so it wouldn't be noticed. The nut with the "sweet contents" did its job because the planter and the lady became a happy couple.

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November 23, 1928 page 3

Wife—Mrs.—Spouse

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Why do we have three different terms for the females we marry? David Strauss once explained it in a beautful way. He said: "When a man marries out of love, the couple become man and wife. When a man marries for convenience, they are Mr. and Mrs. If they marry for material reasons, they are spouses. A man is loved by his wife, looked after by his Mrs., and tolerated by his spouse. A wife cares for her sick husband; his Mrs. visits him in the hospital; a spouse seeks information about his condition. A man takes a stroll with his wife; drives off with his Mrs.; and plays games with his spouse. When a man dies, his wife cries for him; a Mrs. complains about him; and a spouse observes the mourning period."

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February 14, 1930 page 7

How Moses Mendelssohn met His Wife

Moses Mendelssohn was a great philosopher of the Enlightenment. His 200th birthday will be celebrated with a exhibit in his birth city of Dessau on September 6th. Testimonials by Mendelssohn's contemporaries will demonstrate their respect and affect for him. Lessing, a special friend of his, based Nathan the Wise on him, thus creating an everlasting memorial. Kant called him a keen thinker; Goethe and Schiller gave him a place of honor beside Lessing. Though small and crooked, his superior intellect and nobility of heart even won him a wife with whom he led a very happy family life.

How Moses Mendelssohn met his beautiful wife, according to stories handed down, happened in 1768 in Bade Pyrmont when he met the merchant Gugenheim of Hamburg.

"Moses," the merchant said one day, "we all hold you in esteem and my daughter, Fromet, admires you. It would make me very happy to have you as a son-in-law. Come visit us in Hamburg."

Moses Mendelssohn was very shy and he also had a speech impediment. He finally decided to take the trip from Berlin and visit his great friend Lessing along the way, as his correspondence reads. Mendelssohn arrived in Hamburg and visited Gugenheim at his office. Gugenheim said to him:

"Go see my daughter. She'll be very happy to see you. I've told her a lot about you."

Mendelssohn visited the daughter.

The next day he went back to Gugenheim's office. Both men didn't know what to say but eventually Mendelssohn spoke about the graceful and intelligent daughter.

My esteemed friend," Gugenheim said, "May I speak to you frankly."

"Naturally."

"You are a philosopher, a wise and intelligent man. Don't hold it against her. She said ... she was shocked at how you looked, because you..."

"Because I have a hunched back?"

Gugenheim nodded.

"I thought that might be it," Mendelssohn said. "I will visit your daughter and take my leave of her."

He went over to the house and saw the daughter, who was sitting at the window on a high chair with needlework in her hands. They spoke amicably to each other, but the girl didn't look up at Mendelssohn. Finally the girl asked a question.

"Do you also believe that marriages are decided in heaven?"

"Certainly! And something special happened to me. You know, with the birth of a child it's proclaimed in heaven, he gets her and she gets him. Now when I was born, a wife was proclaimed for me but alas, she would have a hump. Dear God, I said. A girl who was crooked would become bitter and harsh. A girl should be pretty. Dear God, give me the hump and let the girl be pretty and straight."

Scarcely had Moses Mendelssohn said this when the girl fell into his arms. She became his wife and they were happy together. Moses Mendelssohn became the patriarch of a large family, from whom countless descendents followed.


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Translation by Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks
March 5, 2024