Reproduced with kind permission of the journal Historical Social Research [© 1998, Center for Historical Social Research / Zentrum für Historische Sozialforschung]. The journal's website is at: http://www.gesis.org/en/hsr/hsr-home/\ud Journal archive: http://www.gesis.org/en/hsr/archive/"Based on the analysis of Anglican marriage registers for the period 1754 to 1890, the article explores patterns of illiteracy in three small Leicestershire [England] towns with contrasting economic functions. Illiteracy levels were closely related to urban occupational and social structures, which also affected distinct gender differentials. Evidence [of] the effect of literacy on age at marriage and marriage distance suggests that demographic behaviour and spatial interaction were determined more by socio-economic factors than by the possession of literacy skills. Literacy attainment, however, was linked to extended marriage distances when both spouses could sign the register." [excerpt
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