Sunday, February 8, 2009


Ah…Valentine’s Day…some of my fondest memories are from this day…when I was in grade school, we used to have the decorated box (which my Dad always volunteered to decorate since his regular handwriting looked like calligraphy) where you would drop those little tidbits of love! Then, in my early teaching career, I would receive bouquets of flowers from current boyfriends which the secretary always delighted in bringing to my classroom…I taught 7th & 8th graders so you can imagine that scenario!

I love the primitive signatures and messages on the ones that have been saved for decades. It is hard to do justice to the Valentines I have in my shop, but here is a small sampling intermingled with the post.

The history of the day is mixed, but, since I love the ancient history connections, in Rome February was the official beginning of spring and a time for purification. Houses were cleansed by sweeping them out and then sprinkling salt and a type of wheat called spelt throughout their interiors. Lupercalia, which began at the ides of February, February 15, was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.

The church redesigned the event to honor an obscure priest who was beheaded on February 14 in 270AD who had been idolized for his chastity and virtue not fertility.

In the 1700s, England produced retail cards, and by the 1800s embossed papers and colorfully printed motifs were in vogue. Perforated papers imitating lace were created, and by the end of the century, Dobbs of England as renown for their work.

In America, Esther Howland created fine Valentines during the Victorian era. She worked by herself…sound familiar MMP women…and she eventually had to hire women to help her. She sold 100,000 cards a year. Her father’s illness forced her to sell the business George Whitney who incorporated a w into the designs.

After WWI, the Valentine lost some popularity, but the Depression era revived the need for tokens of love, and, by the 40s, the schools had introduced the familiar Valentine box that opened this tale.

According to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated one billion valentine cards are sent each year, making Valentine's Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. (An estimated 2.6 billion cards are sent for Christmas.)

Approximately 85% of Valentines are purchased by women—the other 15% are purchased by men at the drugstore or Hallmark store after work on Feb 14.

In addition to the United States, Valentine's Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, and Australia. Maybe the UN should consider a worldwide holiday...what the world needs now is love, sweet love...sing along...

So, a big cyber hug to you all...and, if you are in my Comp class this week, I have chocolate for you...kiss...kiss.

Love does not dominate; it cultivates.
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


Susan - InHerOwnWords said...

Hi Susan what a sweet Valentine post. How fun! Yes I too have fond memories of Valentine's day as a child. I love vintage postcards. They have so much personality. I find myself spending hours going over old postcards and their written words. Thanks for the memories!


Janet L Christian said...

those vintage valentines cards are so cute!

Noelle Garrett Designs said...

Hi Susan,
I love the Valentines. I taught 7th and 8th grade and my DH used to send me flowers. The kids would go nuts. . too funny. You know, maybe "intiqued" could be a new word. I didn't even notice that when I first read it. My brain automatically corrected it I guess. Oh, I have been out of the classroom too long. In response to your comment, my customers are everywhere but here in Southern CA (lol), ah well. . such is life. Great post! Have a wonderful week!

Pam said...

Great photos and info!!

Anonymous said...


I just love the vintage valentine cards they are so sweet. Oh yea and thanks for the lesson, I always enjoy your posts.

P.S. Wish I were in your comp class!

gail said...

Hi Susan,, I love the retro Valentine cards. I love making the construction paper mail boxes and getting them from all of my classmates. I loved that!
I love that doll in your post. I used to have alot of those when I was a kid. I sure wish I still had some. I may start collecting them. I see them once in awhile. I even saw one in the plastic dome case they came in!
Happy Sweetie day to you... gail

Patricia said...

We just finished making Valentine boxes for my grandaughters. They are resplendant with lace and sequins and glitter. It is a fun holiday. The posts on the back of your cards are terrific. My favorite was from my son when he was in first grade, To Mom From Your Son Matthew Morello xoxo(just in case I forgot his last name I guess)
Patricia Rose-A Potpourri of Fabric, Fragrance and Findings

Carolee Crafts said...

Love the Valentine post, I did similar on my Jan newsletter, love to find out about event days and the history behind them, thank you for sharing.

Cottage Flair said...

I really love vintage Valentine's. There is something so special about them. Todays boxes of cards are so commercial. You have a great collection.

Susie said...

Ah love....those Valentines really took me back to grade school memories. What a fun Show and Tell.
Susie of The Polka Dot Rose

Shabby Shan said...

I really enjoyed your post on Valentines Day. I collect vintage greeting cards and Valentines are my favorite. They sure don't make them like they used to!

Happy Valentines Day!

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan,
Loved the Valentines, a few of them looked like ones we had when I was in grade school. I wish I could say it was 10 years ago. For a more truthful estimate, multiply that 10 by 5. Thanks,

Michelle May-The Raspberry Rabbits said...

Susan this was such a fun post. I just love Valentines. It's so wonderful to see actual "real" handwritting. It's just so fun to get things in the mail. Especially a Valentine.
bunny hugs,

Eileen & Karen said...

Love your vintage Valentines! I have such great memories of passing Valentines when I was a kid! Knock at the door and run! I don't think they even do that anymore! Thanks Susan!

Francie...The Scented Cottage Studio said...

I love the old Valentines...I found some that were sent to my Dad when he was a boy.

Thanks for another great post.