A short while ago, we learned that the French arranged marriages long after the English gave up the practice, and each side believed their approach assured more happy marriages.
This was before the days of marriage therapy, couples counseling, etc.
Let's move on to the U.S. in the 20th century.
I had heard about Eugenics but was startled to learn that Paul Popenoe, the man behind The Ladies Home Journal ongoing feature, "Can this marriage be saved?" (launched in 1953)—and the man who seems to have started the marriage counseling business— had been a leader in the Eugenics campaign "to sterilize the unfit and urge the fit to marry."
"The causes of the remarkable failure of college women to marry" he breaks down into two categories: avoidable and unavoidable. Among the "avoidable reasons"--(1) They desire not to marry, due to a preference for a career, or development of a cynical attitude toward men and matrimony, due to a faulty education." For those who desire to marry but can't, reasons include "(b) Their education makes them less desirable mates than girls who have had some training along the lines of home-making and mothercraft."
Further on he declares, as Lepore quotes, "Many a college girl of the finest innate qualities, who sincerely desires to enter matrimony, is unable to find a husband of her own class, simply because she has been rendered so cold and unattractive, so over stuffed intellectually and starved emotionally, that a typical man does not desire to spend the rest of his life in her company."
Good thing my husband never got around to reading that book.
There’s a big difference in how we use history. But we’re equally nuts about it. To us, the everyday details of life in the past are things to talk about, ponder, make fun of -- much in the way normal people talk about their favorite reality show.
We talk about who’s wearing what and who’s sleeping with whom. We try to sort out rumor or myth from fact. We thought there must be at least three other people out there who think history’s fascinating and fun, too. This blog is for them.