“Prefers Jail to Husband” is an arresting headline that led me on another vintage newspaper detour recently.
I justify going down these journalistic rabbit holes by saying that they’re newspaper serendipity. That’s my excuse, anyway, for these historical side trips. I desire not just to read that newspaper, but also to go back in time for a visit. (That is, if I can bring modern anesthesia and dentistry with me, of course. And pay bail for the child brides in these articles.)
The image at left started me on this latest journalistic journey. I found “Prefers Jail to Husband” in The Los Angeles Times, 5 Oct 1916, p. 15.
Who wouldn’t sympathize with this “ultra-Bohemian” housewife? There she was in my adopted hometown, dying of boredom (“the hum drum of domestic life in a small place”).
After fleeing to the “opium dens” of well-bred Pasadena (probably closer to a modern-day Starbucks), Edith Potter decided that she needed to go to jail for “penance.”
And suddenly this piece of journalism had more than a faint whiff of moralizing. And that made me wonder how many other Edith Potters there were out there.
Searches on Prefers Jail to Husband
So I decided to search on “prefers jail to husband” at newspapers.com and genealogybank.com. And were a surprising number of hits. Perhaps more predictably, many of the accounts were of very young women married to men significantly older than they.
And a Wife Who Prefers Jail to Her Entire Family
Here’s the rest of the story that goes with that headline up top from the Evening News, Mar 01, 1910, San Jose, California, v. 25, p. 5.
Have you found runaway wives in your family?
[…] Prefers Jail to Husband by Nancy Loe on Sassy Jane Genealogy […]
Oh.. how this would make a great book… Stories of the past.. I love these little glimpses into the ordinary lives of the past.
Fascinating! We are lucky to have so many searchable newspapers online nowadays.
Ooo I should have searched Trove, too! Let me know if you come across any good stories from your part of the globe, Judy.