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Thu, Apr 20


Beltrami County History Center

Brown Bag History - Cupid Columns with Wendell Affield

Join us to learn about the Midwest's mail-order marriage history with historian and author Wendel Affield, whose parents met and married through Cupid Columns.

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Brown Bag History - Cupid Columns with Wendell Affield
Brown Bag History - Cupid Columns with Wendell Affield

Time & Location

Apr 20, 2023, 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM

Beltrami County History Center, 130 Minnesota Ave SW, Bemidji, MN 56601, USA

About the event

Long before we began swiping right to find true romance, our ancestors picked up the pen to place advertisements in papers and magazines nationwide to seek love – or, at least, marriage. Women were scarce in the developing Midwest, and advertisements for “mail-order brides” helped bridge the miles between husbands and brides-to-be. Corresponding couples could only hope that their partner turned out to be an ideal companion.

Join local author and historian Wendell Affield on April 20 at noon to hear the story of his parents, who met through Cupid Columns. Wendell will share excerpts from his book, Herman, about his stepfather responding to the personal ad of a New York pianist with four children. In 1949, Barbara moved to his rural Minnesota farm with her young children, including the author. Participants will be able to see examples of original mail-order bride advertisements and correspondence and learn more about this centuries-old tradition and its impact on one Minnesota family. Books will be available for signing and purchase.

Participants are invited to the Beltrami County History Center (130 Minnesota Ave. SW, Bemidji) to attend this program FREE. Participants are welcome to bring lunch to enjoy during the program.

The Cupid Columns and correspondence are on temporary donation by Wendell Affield for the History Center’s I Thee Wed exhibit, featuring histories and images of marriage in Beltrami County. This exhibit is available in the History Center and through the Historical Society’s Facebook page through mid-May. For more information about the Historical Society’s exhibits, programs, and volunteer and membership opportunities, please visit

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