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The Bonafide Club

The Bonafide Club was a paperback publication of “Gentlemen’s personal advertisements” published in the “Special Service Department” of The Bonafide Company, Kansas City, Mo., which was “mailed to new lady members daily.” It was an early form of correspondence dating, similar to the personal ads placed in the newspapers of the 1980s and 1990s, and the internet dating of today. I ran across two copies of this publication, and was so amused by the ads and the ways in which the men presented themselves that I couldn’t resist buying them. Here are a few of the ads from one of the publications:

“Here is a young man with no bad habits and a good disposition, willing to do his part. Age 28; 5 ft., 6 in.; 150 lbs. Who will be the first to write? John Carlson, 2451 8th Ave., New York City.”

“A young Swedish farmer is looking for a wife. 23 years of age; light hair and blue eyes; 5 ft., 8 in. tall; 150 lbs.; pleasant disposition; lover of country life, home and children. Have $2000 and will inherit $10,000. Would like to hear from a young girl who can appreciate a good, honest, upright man and one who will do the square thing by me. J. B. Johnson, Box 252, Bridgewater, So. Dakota.”

“Does some nice girl between 20 and 27 years old care to meet a congenial young man? Beauty not essential; loveable and sensibility essential. Have good home in suburbs, ten minutes ride from city. Prefer small brunette; money not necessary. I am blond; 5 ft., 4 in.; 135 lbs.; age 29. Occupation, postal clerk in Washington, D.C. office. Lost most of my money in business, but will start all over if I meet right one. Am German-American; Protestant; a Shriner. Never married. John E. Rau, Mt. Rainier, Md”

If you check the indices below and find a family name you are interested in I would be happy to send you a transcription of the ad in the booklet. Be sure to mention which edition it is that you need, and the page number, along with the name you are interested in.

Send your request to Jayna Quinn.

November 1923

February 1924