RE: virus: request for attribution

carlw (
Mon, 22 Feb 1999 16:18:09 -0600

This was an article out of the 1894, Fall issue, of Madison Institute Newsletter. I would like to thank Pvt. Shull for sending it to me. I relize the article is 30+ years after the civil war but the views, opinions and such on sexual intercourse are much the same prior and during the war.

I thought that this article would give you all a better understanding into the minds and hearts of 19th Century Americans not only on the topic of sex, but marriage as well.

SUBJ: Questioning the Veracity of the "Young Bride" Piece

Contributed (albeit indirectly) to HumourNet by Ernest Adams, amateur historian <>

Posted to HumourNet with permission.

[Editor's Note: Though I enjoy a humorous piece as much as the next guy, I *do* try to alert my readers to cases of "urban legend" whenever possible. Mr. Adams makes some very convincing arguments that seriously question the veracity of the "Young Bride" piece. I felt his treatment of the subject matter was persuasive enough that it warranted inclusion here. You can, of course, draw your own conclusions. </vs>]

I'm convinced this is a phony. I've read a lot of material written in the 1890's, and this "document" contains numerous anachronisms and internal inconsistencies:

4 Sep 1996

The attitude to Cunnilingus and fellatio reflected in the letter was not confined to the 19th Century.

"I regret to say that we of the FBI are powerless to act in cases of oral-genital intimacy, unless it has in some way obstructed interstate commerce."

--J. Edgar Hoover


> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> []On Behalf
> Of carlw
> Sent: Monday, February 22, 1999 3:31 AM
> To:
> Subject: RE: virus: request for attribution
> Ok. I did a hunt for this and found 81 references on AltaVista.
> at RUSH Literature (Humanist material) :
> Instruction and Advice for the Young Bride
> on the Conduct and Procedure of the Intimate and Personal
> Relationships of
> the Marriage State for the Greater Spiritual Sanctity of this Blessed
> Sacrament and the Glory of God
> by Ruth Smythers
> beloved wife of The Reverend L.D. Smythers
> Pastor of the Arcadian Methodist Church
> of the Eastern Regional Conference
> Published in the year of our Lord 1894
> Spiritual Guidance Press
> New York City
> [Scanned by Phil Paulson . HTML by Chad Docterman .]
> (.....Text elided......)
> copyright 1894 The Madison Institute.
> --------------------------------------------------------------
> --------------
> ---
> Note: Due to the absolute outrageousness of this piece, as well as the
> anachronistic language used, it is most likely not a genuine
> work from 1894,
> but a spoof. The author is unknown.
> at The HeartThread Journal (Coyly sweet "family material:) :
> [Editor's Note: Mrs. Smythers, a pastor's wife, wrote this in
> 1894. Readers
> take note; we do NOT recommend her advice, but have included
> it for both its
> humorous and tragic elements. It's unfortunate that she was
> unaware of the
> depth of love that can grow between husband and wife, based
> on open and
> honest communication, and physical affection. One wonders how
> much marriages
> have suffered because of advice like her's.]
> <Hermit> They obviously took it seriously.
> Then at (a collection of "naughty stories" ) :
> The following is a reprint from The Madison Institute Newsletter, Fall
> Issue, 1894:
> Procedure of
> the Intimate and Personal Relationships of the Marriage State for the
> Greater Spiritual Sanctity of this Blessed Sacrament and the
> Glory of God
> by Ruth Smythers,
> beloved wife of The Reverend L.D. Smythers,Pastor of the
> Arcadian Methodist,
> Church of the Eastern Regional Conference.
> Published in the year of our Lord 1894, Spiritual Guidance
> Press, New York
> City
> <Hermit> These ones obviously also took it seriosly. Now note
> the "Madison
> Institute". Maybe. Just maybe.
> Then Humour from the desk of the original knowitall :
> <Hermit> Quotes the same thing again including the attribution to the
> Madison Institute.
> <Hermit> Now comes a real gem! at The Backlash! - November 1996 :
> In King County, prudes rule
> Seattle Times, October 22, 1996 - The King County council
> voted to fire
> Ombudsman David Krull for sexually harassing a female subordinate.
> Krull is accused of sending the message -- supposedly advice
> to young brides
> written by a 19th century minister's wife -- to his assistant, Amy
> Calderwood, after she became engaged.
> Calderwood told investigators that she had agreed to see the
> message but
> found it inappropriate. She also said Krull had made
> unwarranted comments
> about her appearance and had told her about experiences he
> and his wife had
> had with a dance instructor and a personal trainer, both of
> whom had "large
> breasts."
> To understand the true ignominy of Krull's crime, we provide
> the text of
> that missive for your edification, and trust you will be as
> horrified as we:
> The following is a reprint from The Madison Institute Newsletter, Fall
> Issue, 1894, copyright 1894 The Madison Institute.
> (.....Text elided......)
> Ask Aunt Flora at :
> <Hermit> Quotes it and again copyright is attributed to the Madison
> Institute 1894.
> God and the Funky at :
> <Hermit> Quotes it with the now anticipated attribution, and
> follows it
> with:
> A century later...
> 10 December 97
> Associated Press
> IT wasn't much of a honeymoon for a Wisconsin man. Get
> married--leave town
> with bride--stop for drinks--argue--and nearly get run over by bride.
> After getting married, Manuel and Kimberly Borrego hit the
> highway, but
> stopped for drinks in Racine, Wisconsin. Back in the car,
> they argued over
> how loud the radio should be.
> Police say Mrs. Borrego began beating her husband as he
> drove. He stopped
> the car and got out. Mrs. Borrego then got behind the wheel
> and chased her
> husband with the car.
> Mrs. Borrego spent her wedding night in jail, charged with reckless
> endangerment of her husband--and probably her marriage.
> <Hermit> They follow this up with some other funny stories,
> unfortunately I
> know some of them to be documented Urban Legend.
> <Hermit> at Jokes about sex at :
> <Hermit> The attribution varies a little:
> Sex for Brides circa 1894
> The following is a reprint from The Madison Institute Newsletter, Fall
> Issue, 1894
> At a "Liberated Christians" (whatever that may mean) site at :
> <Hermit> The usual story and attribution appears but is
> followed by this:
> Upon questions about if this really could be authentic the
> follow comment
> was made: As I've said before, I collect 19th century sex
> literature, most
> notably the anti-sex literature that was very popular in the United
> States.  That particular essay was very much in line with the typical
> treatment of the subject for the day.  Notice, especially, that it was
> a celibate man telling women about a woman's experience with sex; not
> exactly the most accurate of reporting.
> Omaha and I watched 'Sirens' the other day and were intrigued by a
> quote.  "Women are not permitted to be priests and vicars because
> their sensuality pounds so loudly in their ears that they could never
> hear the whisperings of God."  The essay seems to run parallel to
> that--it's purpose wasn't to teach women how to control their men, but
> to inculcate women into monitoring themselves.  Most (male) leaders at
> the time believe it was *woman* who had the destructive sexuality
> (afterall, it was *her* fault in Eden) and therefore it was woman who
> had to be controlled.  If she could be taught to do that herself, so
> much the better.
> <Hermit> It was apparently posted on Usenet by
> who made this usenet posting on may 15, 1996. Also posted by
> on May 15, 1996 on talk.atheism.
> as "All about Sex - How Sex became Dirty" at :
> <Hermit> it is quoted and followed by:
> A Serious Commentary
> Certainly you didn't expect me to let this go by without
> comment, did you?
> ha!
> You know, if this wasn't a true document it would be funny.
> Unfortunately,
> this is accurate and it does express the way that religion
> has been the
> culprit in suppressing sexuality, in general, and most particularly in
> getting women to believe that they are not supposed to enjoy sex.
> As I've said before, I am not anti-religion, and I even
> consider myself to
> have a close relationship with God.  I wish I could leave
> religion out of
> this website altogether, but it just has way too much to do
> with today's
> still-somewhat-negative attitudes about sex and sexuality.
> It is one reason
> why the church continues to exude the idea that "Family Values" are in
> conflict with open sexuality, even in it's various natural forms.
> <Hermit> Another vote for acceptance?
> And at "1894" at
> I really got a kick out of this. It was handed out in my
> Human Sexuality
> class by Dr. Friar. I thought I would share it with you. I
> hope you enjoyed
> it as much as I did.
> <Hermit> Yet another?
> But then at the "Urban Legends Reference Pages" at :
> Claim:   An 1894 treatise against the evils of marital sex
> exhorted young
> brides to "give little, give seldom, and above all, give grudgingly."
> Status:   Undetermined.
> Example:   [Collected on the Internet, 1996]
> (.....Text elided......)
> Origins:   Anyone tempted to believe this load of codswallop
> should see me
> about the swamp land I have for sale. Accept the piece for
> what it almost
> certainly is -- a lovely bit of humour, playing off the
> notion that our
> forefathers lived in dramatically less sexually enlightened
> times. "Aren't
> we so much better off now?" is the message of this piece.
> The wording gives it away. Although the use of the word "sex"
> to indicate
> the sex act was sort of known in the very late 1800s (it
> previously had been
> used only to indicate gender), its use in that form then
> would have been
> quite cutting edge. One wonders if a minister's wife would
> have thrown it
> about with such abandon. Surely "conjugal relations" would
> have been the
> term of choice.
> Other language usages give one pause: " . . . and turned off
> all the lights
> . . ." Would people in 1894 speak of 'turning off' lights?
> Usage changes
> more slowly than the technology around it, and at that time
> even though
> electric lights were in use in many households, one would
> still term the act
> of shutting them off as "putting out" or "extinguishing," not
> "turning off."
> The days of gas lamps weren't that far in the past.
> Don't take it too seriously, but enjoy it all the same. Read
> this one to
> your sweetie even as the two of you gigglingly imagine what
> poor Reverend
> Smythers' life must have been like. But be careful who you
> pass it along to:
> In 1996, a Seattle ombudsman was fired by the city council
> after forwarding
> it to a female co-worker. His action was deemed misconduct.
> Barbara "some cardinal rules are cuckoo" Mikkelson
> <Hermit> A pretty strong vote against I would say!
> <Hermit> I'll keep looking but this is all I have found to
> date. I'd say
> that there definitely was a magazine article or book which quoted this
> piece, including the attribution and which lead to it getting
> onto the net.
> On the other hand, as the Urban Legends site suggests (which
> I would say is
> a signpost, but not absolute proof of fakery) I would not be amazed to
> discover that like the Desiderata it is a modern fake. After
> all it waddles,
> flies and looks like a duck. So it probably is superman :-/
> TheHermit (Heading for bed)
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From:
> > []On Behalf
> > Of joe dees
> > Sent: Sunday, February 21, 1999 4:06 PM
> > To:
> > Subject: virus: request for attribution
> >
> >
> > A professor at the U. of Richmond is requesting source
> > attribution for the hilarious sexual treatise for the
> > edification of new brides.  She wants to use it in one of her
> > classes, and needs such info to prove to her students that it
> > was intended in all seriousness, and was not written as a
> > parody or prank.  Please post the info to me so that I may
> > forward it to her.
> >
> > Thanxabunch,
> > Joe E. Dees
> > Poet, Pagan, Philosopher
> >
> >
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