Man Seeking Wife, with help from the Mayor

Here’s an oddball story for your day. In 1934, a thirty-year-old farmer from South Dakota named John Sourbier wrote the mayor of Omaha with a unique request. “Maybe you can help me out,” the farmer wrote. “I can make some nice girl a good husband and home, [but] the girls around here are not the kind like. So let me hear from you, and hoping you can help me.”

Letter from Sourbier to mayor of Omaha


While even in 1934 the job description of mayor did not include ‘matchmaker,’ the story of the letter did apparently make it into the Omaha World-Herald. And upon reading word the farmer’s plea, the World Theater in Omaha contacted Mr. Sourbier and made him an even more unique proposition.


Letter from Omaha World Theater to Mr. Sourbier


“We can, and will secure for you, a wife, provided you will appear on the World Theatre stage for one week, starting May 25th, afternoon and evening, and abide by the decision of our audiences in the selection of the wife,” the theater manager kindly offered. “Our plan is to secure applicants who wish to marry, and have them appear on the stage with you, make speeches to our patrons, giving their qualifications of why they should be chosen to become your wife.” After further research, it is still unclear whether or not the lonely farmer accepted the theater’s bid. But what we know for sure is that decades before The Bachelor and other shows of its ilk ever appeared on television (heck – years before the advent of television!), one Omaha showman knew exactly what kind of spectacle the public would be clamoring for, for many years to come. You can view these letters (and much, much more) in the our Photograph & Artifact Collections Search!

Become a Member!

Our members make history happen.

Join Now

You May Also Enjoy

Buffalo Bill’s Big House

Buffalo Bill’s Big House

Marker Monday: The Seedling Mile

Marker Monday: The Seedling Mile

Vacationing on a Budget in 1909

Vacationing on a Budget in 1909

About History Nebraska
History Nebraska was founded in 1878 as the Nebraska State Historical Society by citizens who recognized Nebraska was going through great changes and they sought to record the stories of both indigenous and immigrant peoples. It was designated a state institution and began receiving funds from the legislature in 1883. Legislation in 1994 changed History Nebraska from a state institution to a state agency. The division is headed by Interim Director and CEO Jill Dolberg. They are assisted by an administrative staff responsible for financial and personnel functions, museum store services, security, and facilities maintenance for History Nebraska.
Explore Nebraska
Discover the real places and people of our past at these History Nebraska sites.

Upcoming Events

View our new and upcoming events to see how you can get involved.

Become a Member

The work we do to discover, preserve, and share Nebraska's history wouldn't be possible without the support of History Nebraska members.

History Nebraska Education

Learn more about the educational programs provided at our museums, sites, and online.

History Nebraska Programs

Learn more about the programs associated with History Nebraska.

Latest Hall of Fame Inductee

The Nebraska Hall of Fame was established in 1961 to officially recognize prominent Nebraskans.

Listen to our Podcast

Listen to the articles and authors published in the Nebraska History Magazine with our new Nebraska History Podcast!

Nebraska Collections

History Nebraska's mission is to collect, preserve, and open our shared history to all Nebraskans.

Our YouTube Video Collection

Get a closer look at Nebraska's history through your own eyes, with our extensive video collections.

Additional Research Resources

History Nebraska Research and Reference Services help connect you to the material we collect and preserve.

Support History Nebraska
Make a cash donation to help us acquire, preserve, and interpret Nebraska’s history. Gifts to History Nebraska help leave a legacy and may help your taxes, too! Support the work of History Nebraska by donating to the History Nebraska Foundation today.

Volunteers are the heroes of History Nebraska. So much history, so little time! Your work helps us share access to Nebraska’s stories at our museums and sites, the reference room, and online.