Reading the Classifieds - Amanuensis Monday

(Copyright (c) 2011 Cynthia Shenette)

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

Thanks to John Newmark at Transylvanian Dutch for providing the idea for Amanuensis Monday.

My favorite resources for research are the census, city/house directories, and newspapers. I am constantly amazed at how much I can learn about a person or a family using just those three things. Newspapers tell us so much about the attitudes and opinions of the day, weather, gossip, news, advertising. Even the classifieds contain a wealth of information. Take a look at the examples below. I selected the classifieds listed from one page of the Boston Globe on one particular day. I've also listed the headings under which the ads appear.

Boston Daily Globe. December 13, 1889, p. 9.


NO "DARK ROOMS" for working people; clean tenements in new brick buildings. cor. 2nd and Athens sts.; rents low; easy walk to city; entries warmed in winter. Apply on premisc.


BABIES BOARDED and taken for adoptions; terms reasonable. ABBOTT, 16 Dearborn pl. Roxbury.


$100 TO $200 per month can be made in any city by capable men who are willing to invest a small amount of money where quick returns are realized: this business has been carried on successfully in Boston and other cities for years. For descriptive pamphlet call or address A.T. THOMPSON 7 CO., 13 Tremont row. Boston.


WANTED to find a cousin of Mrs. Elizabeth Lakeman Quimby Brown, or any of her relatives; last heard from she resided in Boston or immediate vicinity. Interested parties will learn something to their advantage by addressing THOMAS BROWN, 604 Central av. Dover, N.H.


AGENTS wanted for the best book on earth to make money with; 1 makes $500 monthly; several $300; any worker can make $150 BALCH BROTHERS, 36 Bromfield st. Boston.

AGENTS wanted; 2 men this morning; must be wide awake and willing to do the best they can. Call after 9 a.m. 21 Bromfield st. J.W. Proctor.

AGENTS wanted - Housekeepers buy it and are happy; new kitchen utensil of rare merit; large profits G.B. BLAKE 703 Washington st.


YOUNG MAN wants situation as nurse or attendant to insane person. Doctor's reference. P.D. 339 Shawmut av.

WANTED--A young lady would like a position as a mother's help, in or out of the city; is very fond of children, a good seamstress and understands housework thoroughly; good home more desirable than high wages. Address E., 39 Old Harbor st., South Boston.

WORK wanted by an American in an office, elevator, clothes store; any inside work which is suitable for disabled vet. soldier. Address X 146, Globe office.

SITUATION wanted by a young married woman as a wet nurse, 3 Fellows ct. Mrs. Folland.


MAN Cook wanted; temperate; non other; apply personally 823 Washington st. 1 flight.

WANTED--Clean American boys, 14 to 16 years old. Mer. Ref. & B. Assoc'n., 459 Washington st.


YOUNG LADY wanted as assistant to clairvoyant. Address by letter, with particulars, M 183 Globe office.


MLLE. ISABELLE FLORENCE, professional dancer, from New York; song and dance, jig, etc. taught; terms moderate 64 West Newton st.

Each one of these is a story waiting to be told. What classifieds have you read that intrigued you? Did you follow through to learn, as radio man Paul Harvey use to say, the rest of the story?

Other Posts You Might Like:

Amanuensis Monday: Clairvoyants and Distractions
Amanuensis Monday: Frank L. Naramore Obituary
Amanuensis Monday: Where My Doll Came From
Madness Monday: The Stuff We Throw Away, and...

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