1935: Mary Ann and Fred Cordes weren't doing too well with their marriage. But instead of just getting a divorce, like normal people, they (well, it was mostly Mary Ann's idea) hatched a plan to sell Fred for $1500 to any woman willing to buy him. Mary Ann hoped to use the money to travel to Ireland, her childhood home.
I don't know how their plan turned out. It's one of those stories that never got a follow-up in the press. But I can't imagine women were lining up to pay $1500 to acquire "all the rights" to a 40-year-old unemployed ice-cream maker.
- Aug 26, 1935
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle - Aug 14, 1935
From Life magazine - Sep 15, 1941
JULIA: Gk-gk-stop choking me, you brute!
GEORGE: I've been choking all day in a shrunk-up shirt because you forgot to look for the right label.
JULIA: What label?
GEORGE: The 'Sanforized' label, dumb-puss. The one that says the fabric won't shrink more than a little 1% by standard tests.
From Charles Harper, Revolted Woman: Past, Present, and to Come
In Germany, during mediaeval times, domestic differences were settled by judicial duels between man and wife, and a regular code for their proper conduct was observed. 'The woman must be so prepared,' so the instructions run, 'that a sleeve of her chemise extend a small ell beyond her hand like a little sack: there indeed is put a stone weighing iii pounds; and she has nothing else but her chemise, and that is bound together between the legs with a lace. Then the man makes himself ready in the pit over against his wife. He is buried therein up to the girdle, and one hand is bound at the elbow to the side.'
The images of the conjugal duelists come from Hans Talhoffer's Fechtbuch
, 1467 (plates 242-250). [Via Wondermark
While it might be fairly common for couples to get a divorce in the United States these days, it's certainly not easy. There are questions of support, custody issues if there are children involved, and bitter arguments over who gets to keep what; all of which can drag a divorce into months of stress. But what is it like in other cultures and in other times? In centuries past, in China, a divorce could be granted for any number of reasons, so long as the bride's family agreed to take her back. Aborigine women in Australia can convince their husbands to grant a divorce but if that's not working, then all they need to do is elope with someone else. The ancient Athenians and modern-day Eskimos share an extremely simple divorce process - live separately as though they were never married. In the UK, a man tired of his wife could slip a halter around her neck, lead her into town to the cattle market, and sell her to the highest bidder. Japan had a much more advanced view, however. Marriage was not sacred and divorce was not immoral - it was merely a mismatch between families. Women's dowrys were returned in the hopes of encouraging re-marriage. You can read more on Purple Slinky
, and on Hope's Blog
, and in this review.
I might have mentioned it before, but I'm planning on getting married this summer. To that end, I've been browsing the web, looking for stories about wedding related disasters, hoping to learn from the mistakes of others. Just this evening I found a bit of advice that had not occurred to me - think about what your new name will be, especially if you are considering whether or not to hyphenate. And here's why.
Now that the coffee tastes better and hubby will drink it, wifey can add the poison this idiot so richly deserves.
In 1947, a gal named Barbara Ehrhart chose to create her wedding dress out of turkey feathers.
The guests tossed more feathers instead of rice.
More pix here, courtesy of LIFE.
[From Good Housekeeping
for December 1949.]
"Subliminal" is not the precise word I want here. Not when the coded message is in big red letters.
"Subtextual?" "Off-topic?" "Suggestive?"
In any case, promoting the maxim "husbands beat wives" in a women's magazine was one way of keeping the girls in line, I guess.