Hearts and Minds: Canadian Romance at the Dawn of the Modern Era, 1900-1930

Hearts and Minds: Canadian Romance at the Dawn of the Modern Era, 1900-1930

Hearts and Minds: Canadian Romance at the Dawn of the Modern Era, 1900-1930

Hearts and Minds: Canadian Romance at the Dawn of the Modern Era, 1900-1930

Excerpt

During the week of March 10, 1913, five Canadians, each in a different province, sat down to compose a letter they hoped would be published in the next issue of the Family Herald and Weekly Star, a Montreal-based magazine with subscribers from across the country. Their letters were indeed published and appeared in the magazine’s wildly popular “Prim Rose at Home” column. From Saskatchewan’s Carrot River Valley came a letter from a farmer calling himself “Rasmus,” who told the editor that he and eleven fellow farmers had recently formed a “Bachelors’ Club” with the goal of enticing letters from women looking for husbands. “It seems a shame for us to be living alone in a country where nature has so abundantly provided the necessities of life, which are so essential in raising a large family.” Any woman wishing to write to one of the club’s members, he said, should contact him for a list of names and addresses. He warned, however, that “this is a new country, and they must not expect to find all the luxuries of life which they may enjoy in the older settled localities.”

A “Wood Builder” from New Brunswick spoke of another danger: marrying someone you don’t know well enough. “I am personally acquainted with a young woman who married a man after a short acquaintance,” he said, and “with what results? A thousand miles separates them today.” Another letter, from a “Busy Girl” in the fruit belt of Ontario’s Niagara peninsula, pleaded for young men to remain in her province instead of heading West in search of fortune, as so many were doing. “Why leave these good old . . .

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