|Prior to the mid-eighteenth-century,
that were not handmade were often
imported from abroad. Before they became
mainstream and mass-produced in the United States, they were
highly creative and personal.
booklets devoted to assist in writing verses for use in
or purchased valentines. Many of the verses were addressed to
or from specific persons or trades, such as the 'Fishmonger'
who tells his love "Thou art a dish of dainty fish"
or the 'Mason' who sighs that his beloved's heart is
stone." Some featured acrostics with the first letter of
each line spelling out the name of the recipient. This
Writer was written by Peter Quizumall, Esq., in
Lithographed valentines made their
in this country at the start of
Revolution, between 1840 and 1850, when craftsmanship
in many lines was undergoing
rapid changes. This hand-colored lithographed
by Turner and Fisher of Philadelphia and New York, is
Feb. 14, 1840. At this time, a space for a personal message
was often left open. The sender added in his own handwriting
"May friendship's constant kiss be thine, from this sweet
day of Valentine."
||This early valentine, given to
Andrews of Millbury, Massachusetts, was hand-cut and
with watercolors, marked and 'By M. F. Andrews of
|In the February 1849 issue of the
popular Godey's Lady's Book, the author of this Valentine's
Day article decries the current fashion of sending
imported printed valentines, suggesting that a
to this magazine would be more appropriate for the occasion
and of greater worth.
Imported English valentines were
the most fashionable, being made with a satin or painted center
and bordered with embossed lace paper. Sometimes the
would have a small envelope attached in which a locket or hair
or private note would be included.
||By 1840, comic valentines were produced
on a relatively large scale commercially. In sharp contrast
to the sweet and sentimental valentine, the caricatures were
often cruel and the humor venomous, expressing everything but
love. They insulted the fat, the thin, the schoolteacher, the
doctor, the dandy, and the drunk. Often they were sent anonymously.
While some of the earliest ones were lithographed and
wood block printing was used more than any other process.
This card is a
good example of a comic wood block valentine.
|Many valentines were published during the Civil
War for both soldiers and civilians. This chestnut curl on a
hand-painted card dated 1863 went through the war with a