Love Me Did: A History of Courtship
Considering the stereotypes about Puritan New England, you might be surprised to learn that sweethearts in the 18th century were not only allowed to sleep together before marriage – they were encouraged to! The catch? They had to do it within the parents’ home. It was known as “bundling,” and although sex was theoretically not involved, the practice coincided with a huge increase in premarital pregnancy. By the end of the century, 1/3 of all brides were pregnant by the time they reached the altar.
In this episode, the History Guys explore three centuries of pre-marital intimacy. Did economic considerations used to play a greater role in coupling? In what ways have dating practices challenged class & racial boundaries? Has the idea of “romance” itself morphed over time?
*Beth Bailey — historian and author of From Front Porch to Back Seat: Courtship in 20th Century America
Features & Highlights
Hear more about dating in the 19th and 20th centuries in these extended interviews of Pam Epstein and Beth Bailey. Listen here.
Extended Interview: Beth Bailey tells Brian Balogh about three generations of courtship in her own family…and why there are only two entries for the word “love” in the index of her book.
Want to dig deeper into the history of dating? The BackStory research team has compiled a comprehensive list of resources for further exploration. Read On.