A History of Mail Order Brides in Early America

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ben_franklins_worldHow do you build colonies without women?

Most of the colonial adventurers from England and France who set out for Jamestown, New France, and colonial Louisiana were men. But how do you build and sustain societies and spread European culture—in essence, fulfill the promises of a colonial program—without women?

You can’t. Which is why Marcia Zug, a Professor of Law at the University of South Carolina Law School and author of Buying a Bride: An Engaging History of Mail Order Matches (NYUPress, 2016),  joins us in this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast to explore one of the solutions that England and France used to build their North American colonies: mail order bride programs. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/120

Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our world. Each episode features an interview with an historian who shares their unique insights into our early American past.

2 thoughts on “A History of Mail Order Brides in Early America

  1. Julia Dowd

    Remember the filles à marier and the filles du roi who went to New France to help settle the colony. Millions of Americans today are descended from them. None of them were bought – they were sent by the Company of 100 Associates or King Louis XIV to work side by side with the men.

  2. Peter Evans

    Have you heard of the “King’s Daughters”?
    As I understand it, Louis XIV authorized the selection of 1000 women to go to New France.
    They were given a very sizable bounty and were free to select a husband once they arrived.
    They were not slaves and were insured significant autonomy in finding a happy and satisfactory arrangement. They further had some rights to divorce if things didn’t workout.
    I don’t recall all the details. In the end over 800 women collected their bounty and sailed for the New World. Today, there are “King’s Daughters” Chapters of descendants of these adventure some women all over the US and Canada. Their chapters support children’s hospitals and orphanages.
    I had never heard of this group of women but came across a reference to it so I dug a little deeper.


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