There’s a fascinating story over at Slate about the infamous “divorce ranches” in Reno, the same kind that Betty Draper and Henry Francis were no doubt flying to at the close of Mad Men Season 3.
From the 1930s to the early 1960s, Nevada—and Reno in particular—served as the divorce capital of the United States. Few other places made ending a marriage so easy. New York, for example, would grant a divorce only if one spouse could prove that the other had been adulterous—with pictures, perhaps, or an eyewitness.
Even with the evidence in hand, an aggrieved spouse still had to wait a year between filing for divorce and being granted one. By contrast, Nevada offered nine grounds for divorce—impotency, adultery, desertion, conviction of a felony, habitual drunkenness, neglect to provide the common necessities of life, insanity, living apart for three years, and extreme cruelty entirely mental in nature—and required no proof.
Wasn’t it crazy-nutso back then with the divorcing of the spouses and all these kinds of things?
Related: Mad Men on Telematic Dan