Only the Lonely: Finding Romance in the Personal Columns of Canada's «Western Home Monthly», 1905-1924


166 pages
Contains Photos
ISBN 1-894004-55-8
DDC 971.2'02






Reviewed by Frits Pannekoek

Fritz Pannekoek is an associate professor of heritage studies, director
of information resources at the University of Calgary, and the author of
A Snug Little Flock: The Social Origins of the Riel Resistance of


This wonderful book is divided into six sections: “Only the Lonely,”
“The Ideal Man,” “The Ideal Woman,” “Courtship,” “Physical
Intimacy,” and “Marriage.” While the majority of the book is
devoted to edited letters from the Western Home Monthly, each section of
letters is preceded by a brief and critical introduction. The letters
are repetitive and serve to illustrate the book’s general thesis that
the “qualities” women and men sought in each other changed radically
just before the First World War. Women who had previously sought
industrious types began to express a preference for men who were more
playful and self-indulgent. Men’s tastes took longer to change and
were tempered by the war. Courtship also changed in this period. Both
men and women were more tolerant of those who “toyed” with the
opposite sex, although during the war itself such behavior was
considered unpatriotic.

Azoulay, a professor of history at York University, will likely
disappoint academics with his thin analysis and failure to provide a
bibliography. However, he will enchant undergraduates taking their first
social history course and general readers who want to read the Canadian
“personals” in a more meaningful and uplifting historical context.


Azoulay, Dan., “Only the Lonely: Finding Romance in the Personal Columns of Canada's «Western Home Monthly», 1905-1924,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 21, 2024,