Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The History of Divorce Law

A fantastic historical look at the difficulty of obtaining a divorce in New York appeared recently in the Wall Street Journal.  An excerpt:

In the early 20th century, a number of young women hired themselves out as "correspondents" in divorce cases—essentially bait for philandering husbands. In 1934, the New York Mirror published an article titled, "I Was the 'Unknown Blonde' in 100 New York Divorces!"—featuring one Dorothy Jarvis, who earned as much as $100 a job. Ms. Jarvis had several tactics, beyond taking her date to a hotel room and awaiting ambush. There was the "push and raid" (where she would push herself into a man's room, dressed only in a fur coat, then whip off her outer garment), as well as the "shadow and shanghai" and the "dance and dope."

Read the piece here.


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Interesting! Thanks for sharing!

Posted by: Concord Attorney | Sep 9, 2010 10:35:05 AM

I'm going to miss these sorts of shenanigans (not!), now that New York has - finally - joined the rest of the country with no-fault divorce. The hoops the matrimonial bar had to jump through to get people divorced were nuts, and the unnecessary delay and expense to the parties was unseemly. Not to mention the stress on the families...

Posted by: Terri | Sep 11, 2010 9:58:59 PM

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