Love Me Did: A History of Courtship

On 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?

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.

[audio:Love-Me-Did-A-History-of-Courtship.mp3]

Guests Include:

    *Beth Bailey — historian and author of From Front Porch to Back Seat: Courtship in 20th Century America
    *Pamela Epstein — historian and blogger-in-chief, Advertising For Love
    Features & Highlights
    Hear more about dating in the 19th and 20th centuries in these extended interviews of Pam Epstein and Beth Bailey. Listen here.

BackStory is a brand-new public radio program that brings historical perspective to the events happening around us today. On each show, renowned U.S. historians Ed Ayers, Peter Onuf, and Brian Balogh tear a topic from the headlines and plumb its historical depths. Over the course of the hour, they are joined by fellow historians, people in the news, and callers interested in exploring the roots of what’s going on today. Together, they drill down to colonial times and earlier, revealing the connections (and disconnections) between past and present. With its passionate, intelligent, and irreverent approach, BackStory is fun and essential listening no matter who you are.

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