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Trivia: How To Woo A Woman in Early 1700s Boston

July 8, 2020

Oh, how the times have changed.

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While reading Eric Burns’ exceptionally well-written and highly interesting book Infamous Scribblers I came upon this nugget.

Newspapers, as they might be termed in the early 1700s, never had a huge number of subscribers.  For instance, the News-Letter never had over 300 subscribers at any one time.  But the Boston paper did have many readers as copies would be read at taverns, passed to neighbors, mailed to others far removed, and so on.

The paper was twopence a copy and considered a luxury, as people did not yet understand the need to know what they were not aware of in the world.   Which is where Judge Sewall comes into the story.

Since the paper was a luxury he occasionally presented copies of it to the ladies on whom he called.  Oh, do come in and sit by the fire as we absorb the news of this dreamy seaport.  

That offering would morph over time into boxes of candy for ladies who met a gentleman at the door.

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