Even though each issue opened with local news about the Pope and the surrounding Italian states, the real juice was when they talked about the famous people who had come to town and what hotels they are staying in. When the Duke of Devonshire showed up to spend the winter in Rome, the newspaper reported regularly on his dinner parties and the aristocrats he hosted, such as Prince and Princess Torlonia, the Earl and Countess Shelbourn, Lady J. Grey, etc. He also had Mr. and Madame Oury perform concerts for his guests, he a violinist, she a pianist. Although there was social excitement, Mother Nature sometimes got in the way too. In early December 1846, after a storm the Tiber River overflowed and flooded the streets of Rome. Although devastation was more extensive in the Campagna, the city itself had its share of problems. The jeweler Castellani had to take out an advertisement to let patrons know that he had temporarily moved after "being visited by the Tiber in his establishment."
On April 10, 1847, they published an article on current demographics about Rome. At that time, they estimated there were 177,971 people living in Rome. Of this number, 17,606 were domiciled strangers such as John Gibson and other artists living there, which accounted for 10% of the population. There were 32 cardinals, 21 archbishops and bishops, 313 physicians, 223 surgeons, 66 midwives, 339 masters and mistresses of schools, 46,672 shopkeepers, and 16,552 servants. Curiously, they also reported that there were 3,828 Jews living in Rome, which accounted for 2% of the population. To put this all in context, I did some Googling and discovered that at about same time NYC had a population of 371,223, while Paris was at 1 million and London 2 million. In other words, Rome was small in comparison. What is even more staggering is that 1800 years earlier during the reign of Emperor Augustus Caesar, the city of ancient Rome had 800,000 people living in it, and that may not even include the slaves!
Justin Cormack's Flickr). A single woman in 19th-century society really had few options if she had been unable to marry. What is very strange, however, is this next ad, in which a man seems to be seeking similar work. I may be reading too much into this, but if I didn't know any better, this guy was looking for his own Sugar Daddy! It ran: "WANTED, by an English Gentleman, of good family, aged thirty, the situation of companion to an Invalid, or Elderly Gentleman, or that of Secretary or Amanuensis. He speaks French fluently, also a little German and Italian; plays on the Organ and Piano with considerable talent; possesses a good voice for reading and writes an excellent hand. Superior and unexceptionable references can be given in Rome, Paris and London." Hey, I could have written that ad! (Well, maybe not.)
Images were not yet regularly appearing in the mainstream press at this time, so advertisers had to rely on clever writing to market their work. If ever you thought bodily concerns were just something we worried about now, think again. Here's an ad for Grimstone's Aromatic Regenerator:
EYEBROWS, MUSTACHIOS and WHISKERS produced in a few weeks, and Baldness removed by the use of GRIMSTONE'S AROMATIC REGENERATOR, an essential spirit, drawn from aromatic herbs and flowers, a few drops of which cure headache in a few minutes; it is also a most delightful, fragrant toilet perfume. Sold only in triangular bottles, protected by the Government stamp, at 4s [i.e. shillings]; double the size, 7s; and double this size, 11s each; enclosed in a Pamphlet, containing testimonials of undoubted authority, entitled "Three Minutes' Advice on the Growth and Preservation of the Human Hair, etc."It grows hair, removes baldness, cures headaches, AND is a perfume?? No way! Do you think it works? I wonder if anyone has tried it? Well, what do you know...
Mrs. Weekley, of No. 3, Swan-street, Borough, takes this opportunity of publicly thanking Mr. W. Grimstone, of the Herbary, High-gate, for the efficacy of his Aromatic Regenerator, in having completely restored the hair on her head after using it about four months, and her hair is now much stronger and more luxuriant than it was previous to its falling off. Mrs. W. inserts this testimony, thinking that the virtues of his preparation cannot be too generally known, not only in the restoration and production of hair, but in the cure of nervous and other headaches, and will be happy to answer the inquiries of any respectable person.Technology may have changed, but advertising certainly hasn't!