What stories the classifieds tell! Throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s, teenagers posted advertisements offering services from child care to house cleaning to typewriting, testifying to their desperate poverty. Their stories were often untold, but the classifieds offer some details.
St. Louis Globe-Democrat (St. Louis, Missouri), July 1, 1895 –
Apparently, however, there was a market for teenagers who owned typewriters:
The Evening Times (Washington, DC), November 27, 1895 –
27 Nov 1895, Wed The Evening Times (Washington, District of Columbia) Newspapers.com
© 2022, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.
That first ad reads like a pedophile groomer trying to take interest in a 14 year old girl. The second ad sounds like he’s begging for child labor. That’s just my opinion, but I’m so glad it’s 2022 and we know more about how to recognize and avoid predators now.
My impression was that the first was placed by the 14-year-old’s mother, ergo “child of widow.” The line, “where gentleman would take interest,” might be a way of saying only upstanding citizens should reply (or was it a proffer of marriage?). The age of consent in Missouri in the 1890s, according to this website, was 10! I suppose 14 would have been considered acceptable, though I understand the average marrying age was in the early 20s back then. Hopefully, this child’s life turned out well.
Ah ok! I totally read that wrong. Hopefully she found work and perhaps a good husband, or at least a nice sugar-daddy, lol. My great-grandma married at 16 in the early 1900’s, while my great-grandpa was just 18. 16 is still the age of consent here in Arkansas, though now you need parental consent to marry under 18.