Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine Cards

Valentine Greetings



The rose is red, the violet's blue,
The honey's sweet, and so are you.
Thou art my love and I am thine;
I drew thee to my Valentine:
The lot was cast and then I drew,
And Fortune said it shou'd be you.

Gammer Gurton's Garland (1784)


Happy Valentine's Day!  I have read that the Greeting Card Association estimates that approximately one billion valentine cards are sent world-wide each year, making Valentine's Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year behind Christmas.  Wow!  That's a lot of love!

Looking through some vintage Valentine cards, it struck me that many of them would be considered inappropriate, sexist, racist, and downright creepy by today's standards.  Here are some examples of such cards.






Creepy Valentine
Remember that the worm may turn -
You'd better treat me right..Tho' you're the apple of my eye -
There's others still in sight!


Creepy Valentine
You ain't so mild little girl, but you certainly satisfy!
Creepy Valentine
Hey Valentine!  Have you burned out your clutch?
You don't take hold like you used to.

Creepy Valentine
Some likes light girls, some likes dark girls, but all I wants is a good cook.


Creepy Valentine
Your coldness gave me the flew.


Creepy Valentine
The point is will you be my Valentine or I'll nail you yet, my Valentine


Creepy Valentine
Now or Never Will you be my Valentine


Creepy Valentine
Be my Valentine little one - or I will have to use my gun.


Creepy Valentine
I ain't kidding Valentine - I'd like to kidnap you!


Creepy Valentine
It's "loaded" but only with love......for you, Valentine
Creepy Valentine
Why the Frigid-Aire Valentine?  I'm ready to be de-frosted

Creepy Valentine
I'm out hunting for a Valentine.  Are you game?

Creepy Valentine
My Valentine, Can't I bring you to your knees too?  Love me

Creepy Valentine
Baby, you sure play havoc with my heart.

Creepy Valentine
You built a wall so fast and strong,
But with my magic ray, it won't last long!

Creepy Valentine
Snow use - I love you Valentine!

Creepy Valentine
Your "frigid air" is not so nice,
don't treat me like a cake of ice!

Creepy Valentine
Let's come to the point - Be My Valentine

Creepy Valentine
If you wanta be mine, fork over your heart

Creepy Valentine
I won't let go until you say yes, kid.

Creepy Valentine
Now will you be my valentine?

Creepy Valentine
I'm bound to be yours if you'll be mine

Creepy Valentine
I'd snap you up if you said be my valentine

Creepy Valentine
You're sweet enough to eat, my Valentine

Creepy Valentine
It "strikes me" that I love you.


Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, and the oldest known Valentine is one by Charles, Duke of Orleans which he wrote to his wife while imprisoned in the Tower of London after his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. The poem, written in 1415, is now part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England. Several years later, it is believed King Henry V hired a writer named John Lydgate to comprise a valentine for Catherine of Valois. 

The first commercial Valentine's Day greeting cards produced in the U.S. were created in the 1840s by Esther A. Howland. Howland, known as the Mother of the Valentine, made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as "scrap".


The Howland Family operated the largest book and stationery store in Worcester, Massachusetts. After graduating at the age of nineteen, Esther received an intricate English Valentine from one of her fathers' business acquaintances, and she was sure that she was capable of making similar or even better ones.  Persuading her father to order lace paper and other supplies from England and New York City, she made a dozen samples, which her brother added to his catalog for his next sales trip. Hoping for as much as $200 in orders, they were shocked when her brother returned with more than $5,000 in advance sales.
Designing and creating these unforgettable cards required creativity and inspiration. The finished products suggested fantasy and romance, and set trends for more than thirty years. While other companies competed for sales to the public, none could compete with the value, taste, and style of Esther Howland. She was not the first to create Valentines in America, but she is credited with having popularized the lace Valentine, turning it into a major industry. The honor, "The Mother of the American Valentine" first appeared in a newspaper article shortly after her death. 

I'm sure the beauty and suggested romance of her cards are a far cry from those shown here!  One has to wonder what type of relationship the recipients of these cards had with the givers.  Ahh, love is a many splendored thing!

{All images were found using Google Image.  If they belong to you, let me know and I will link them back to you.}


6 comments:

  1. These cards are so, so immensely darling! I adore them all, but think the very first one might be my favourite. Thank you for sharing these delightful greetings, as well as some of the fascinating history of this industry.

    Sending tons of hugs & joyful Valentine's wishes your way!
    ♥ Jessica

    ReplyDelete
  2. Some of these Valentines are very cute and some are just a little creepy. The guy choking the girl? That doesn't make me want to be your Valentine. Maybe it's a look into how I feel about domestic abuse.

    Anyways, Happy Valentine's Day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, that one has creepiness all over it.

      Delete
  3. Some of these are hilarious!! I love your blog name by the way!

    www.trendinginfashion.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete

I'd love to hear your thoughts, suggestions, and opinions. Please leave me a comment. I read every single one, even on older posts.

**Due to the amount of spam comments that I have been getting lately, I will no longer be accepting comments from Anonymous users. Sorry for the inconvenience but hopefully you understand.**