Before we had online dating services, a young woman might turn to creative sources for a potential mate - why not to the Mayor of a respectable town like Halifax, Nova Scotia?
In the spring of 1939, an "attractive 22 year-old English girl" wrote to Mayor Walter Mitchell asking him to put her in touch with a "respectable man with view to matrimony." This was an era when the Mayor's Office received all manner of requests, from tourist information to the source for a discontinued china pattern. And the Mayor's Office responded to them all!
In response to the letter from England, Mayor Mitchell had a notice posted in The Halifax Mail. Sensitive to the young woman's position, the Mayor offered his Office at City Hall to be the intermediary, forwarding letters from prospective suitors to her in England.
Along with the letters from prospective suitors, the mayor sent some advice: "I do not know any of these parties, but if you feel like corresponding with any of them, you doubtless could write to the minister in the locality in which they live to find out who they are."
And there were many Nova Scotia men who responded to the newspaper publicity. One was so eager that he wrote two months later, asking the Mayor, "Please let me know how long I must wait for an answer to my letter?"
The Mayor's response? "Replying to yours of July 25th, your letter was sent to the young lady in question, in England, whose name I cannot reveal as she wished it kept confidential, and the rest is purely up to her."
This venture appears to be the end of the story for Mayor Mitchell acting as matchmaker, given how his office handled a similar request received by his office later that year:
"Do you please think it would be possible for you to find two female correspondents for the following boys - [names omitted for privacy], of the above address, and [names omitted for privacy] of [address omitted for privacy].
Both of us are good looking. We are both aged sixteen, 5ft 8 ins. tall, and both dark, and work in the Corporation Offices.
Hoping we are not asking too great of a favour from you as this is the only means by which we can communicate with anyone in your town.
Hoping you will be able to find us two suitable female correspondents, as soon as possible.
[Names omitted for privacy]"
The Mayor’s Office response:
Replying to the joint letter from you and Mr. [name omitted for privacy] re two female correspondents, I must admit that this is rather out of my line. However, might I suggest that you write to Mr. R.K. Marshall, Principal, Halifax County Academy, Sackville Street, Halifax, or Mr. N.Y. Malbec, Principal, Bloomfield High School, Robie Street, Halifax, as they might be able to arrange something along this line for you.
I am very pleased to hear from a native of Halifax, England because your Halifax and mine are both great cities, and I trust that when you both get a little older you will have the good fortune and opportunity to come and see what Halifax, Nova Scotia, looks like.