The American History Podcast

A Program Of Virginia Foundation for the Humanities


7 Ways to Catch a Millionaire Husband (In 1904)

Art from the September 25, 1904, Chicago Tribune article “How to Catch a Millionaire Husband.” Source:

Art from the September 25, 1904, Chicago Tribune article “How to Catch a Millionaire Husband.” Source:

On September 25, 1904, the “Chicago Tribune” printed an article entitled “How to Catch a Millionaire Husband.” It featured women who had made “brilliant” matches to some of the wealthiest and most prominent men of the time. With its strong use of graphics and gossipy style of writing, the article foreshadows the modern-day “listicle.” With that in mind, we’ve gone ahead and updated the format (but not the content) for your reading pleasure.

  1. Be little and look small and frail like May Goelet, and a big burly duke will fall in love with your daintiness.
  2. Be an intellectual. In your brown eyes the Cable King will see and be charmed by your earnest depth. “Here is intellect,” he will say. “I will never grow tired of this girl.”
  3. Have the quiet ways of Mary Washington Bond, with her New Jersey beauty, fair as the day, with hair that shines like the sun and a complexion like the peach. By being “the quietest woman in the world,” you will make his home “a haven of peace.”
  4. Be always well groomed like Mrs. John Jacob Astor. She impresses one as being a lady all the way through with her distinguished bearing, reservation, and refinement. “She is so fit!” They will say.
  5. Don’t be hoity-toity. Such girls will do to flirt with, but will not do to marry.
  6. Have the “sweet ways” of Mrs. Vanderbilt. Her manner is dainty and she looks more like the refined sweet young woman of the household than the grande dame of society.
  7. Talent and intellect are paramount. The list of millionaires wives includes poets, writers, painters, authorities on orchids and rare tropical plants, tapestry experts, musicians, and polymaths.

Learn more about American millionaires by listening to BackStory’s “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

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