Boston Marriages: Two Healthy Unmarried Women Cohabiting Legally

Sarah Ponsonby and Lady Eleanor Butler, also known as the Ladies of Llangollen, lived together in a Boston marriage. (Wellcome Colection Gallery)

With so many Elizabeths and Darcys running around over the years, you’ve likely heard that "it is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a large fortune must be in want of a wife." But what happens when you're single, financially independent, and the prospective wife in question? Put two of these women together in New England in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and you've got yourself a "Boston marriage."