Boston Marriages: The Unfolding History.
“Boston Marriage” is a term that was developed during the 19th century. It referred to the act of two unmarried females in a monogamous relationship residing under the same roof. The women were self supported; they split the house household bills, and living expenses amongst themselves. On occasions they may have even shared the same bed but no evidence ever supported the notion that the relationship was sexual in nature. Although “Boston marriages” could be defined as homosexual, they could also simply involve the mutual expression of romantic tendencies (Smith & Perry, 2006).This relationship was highlighted during the Progressive era in United States and ultimately affected the perception same sex relationships in the United States today.
The Progressive Era was a period of reform that flourished from the 1880s to the 1920s. During this time period there were many changes in the lives of women. The public and the press coined a phrase the “New Woman” (Reforming Their World: Women in the Progressive Era, 2007). The “New Woman” was young, college educated, active in sports, interested in pursuing a career, and looking for a marriage based on equality (NWHM, 2007). College educated women began to delay marriage during this period. Some professional women chose not to marry, instead established long-lasting and loving partnerships with other women with whom they shared property and living expenses (Perry & Smith, 2006).
Many middle- and upper class women were graduating from college and entering white- collar professions. A few women excelled as lawyers, doctors, journalist, and scientists (NWHM, 2007). Young professional “New Women” made careers within the reform movement, as settlement workers, social workers, and public health nurses (NWHM, 2007). For such women, Boston marriages were...