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July 28, 2021

In 1907, a Shipload of 1,000 Immigrant Women From the Baltic Seeking Husbands Came to New York

Was there really a shortage of marriage-minded women in the United States in the early 1900s? Apparently rumors had been circulating in Europe that American men couldn’t find wives. With this in mind, just over 1,000 “maids” booked passage on a New York–bound ship that arrived on September 27, 1907.

The Washington Post wrote an article in 1907 on the arrival of 1,000+ women from European countries that came to America seeking husbands. This drew considerable attention from young American men, who waited at the pier for the arrival of their ship the Baltic, so as to catch a glimpse of these women and consider these potential suitors.

The article also asked women aboard the ship where in America they will settle as they search for husbands and what kind of men they are looking for. Some seek “rich Americans,” others like “tall men and blonds,” but some will marry “if [they] can find anybody to have [them].”

The article concluded with the statement, “it is thought that the proposals will come thick and fast,” demonstrating a general positivity toward immigrants coming to America, specifically women. Not only were European women seeking husbands in America, the men favorably accepted their arrival. This emphasizes the favorable  regard with which Americans accepted immigrants in the early 1900s, especially when they arrived from European countries, such as England. In addition, if such immigrants were seeking a better life in America and were willing to assimilate into the culture, in this case by marrying an American man, then Americans gladly welcomed their stay.

Today there is talk of foreign women marrying American men to achieve green cards so that they can live legally in America. If such a large volume of women arrived in the U.S. today seeking marriage, would they be equally as welcome? It seems marriage between immigrants and Americans was accepted publicly in the early 1900s, but do we carry the same opinions today?


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