Personal Ads

views updated


PERSONAL ADS, solicitations for employment, financial assistance, friendship, romance, or lost family members, debuted in American newspapers by the late eighteenth century. The use of personal ads increased in the nineteenth century as populations became more migratory. The Boston Pilot carried advertisements from Irish immigrants seeking elusive family members, while in other papers a westward-bound man might solicit a wife with means. Personal ads reveal much about the mores and styles of their journals' readers, from the freewheeling sexual revelations of the Village Voice to the bourgeois aspirations and preoccupations of more recent personal columns in the New York Times. Since the personal computer revolution, personals have proliferated in various formats on the Internet.


Harkison, Judy. "'A Chorus of Groans, ' Notes Sherlock Holmes." Smithsonian,18, no. 6 (September 1987): 196.

Mott, Frank Luther. American Journalism: A History, 1690–1960. 3d ed., New York: Macmillan, 1962.

John J.Byrne