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One was written by a “gentleman about 30 years of age” who “would willingly match himself to some good young gentlewoman that has a fortune of 3000£ or thereabout, and he will make settlement to content.” That’s some real 17th-century romance right there.

Since homosexuality was illegal during this time, but newspaper ads were the main way to meet someone, gay men would use code words to avoid being persecuted or even executed, according to a PBS infographic on the history of love and technology.

This was free for women to do, while men had to pay a quarter.

Until Helen Morrison came along, it was mostly men who were posting personal ads, with women or gay men answering them.They used their own questionnaire and an IBM 1401 computer to match people (for ) based on their similar likes and dislikes.From 1965 to 1990, in-print personal ads kept up a steady pace until an invention came along that would change all of our lives forever — the internet.Helen’s ad appeared in a Lonely Hearts Column in the Manchester Weekly Journal, and it simply said she wanted “someone nice to spend my life with.” Instead of getting a response from “The One,” the mayor responded and sent her to an insane asylum for four weeks, according to an article in the Huffington Post. Throughout the 1800s, personal ads grew more and more popular, starting with noblemen and noblewomen and reaching the middle and lower classes once publications like The Wedding Bell, The Correspondent, Matrimonial Herald, and Marriage Gazette came out.In the late 1800s, The Matrimonial News in San Francisco became the first newspaper exclusively for singles — where they could read stories about the latest romantic goings-on and post ads for a mate.

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