Seminar, History of Women, Gender and Sexuality

The Emergence of the Marriage Market

Author: Lindsay Keiter, Pennsylvania State University – Altoona
Comment: Ellen Hartigan-O’Connor, University of California – Davis

Tuesday, January 18, 2022, 5:15PM - 6:30PM

When did Americans begin using the term “the marriage market,” and what does it tell us about society at the time? This article-in-progress traces the emergence of the concept of marriage as a market subject to supply and demand during the early 19th century. Yet even as they referred to the marriage market, with its impersonal implications, many Americans resisted its complete commercialization. Marriage brokers—professional matchmakers—and matrimonial advertising attracted both clients and controversy. The metaphor of the marriage market reflected the entanglement of the sentimental home created by marriage and the competitive chaos of the expanding antebellum economy.

The History of Women, Gender, & Sexuality Seminar invites you to join the conversation. Seminars bring together a diverse group of scholars and interested members of the public to workshop a pre-circulated paperLearn more.

Please note, this is an online event hosted on the video conference platform, Zoom. Registrants will receive a confirmation message with attendance information.

Subscribers for the current year may login to view currently available essays

Register to attend online

Online Event