This exhibition is the result of collaboration between members of a Smith College art history course, ARH291: Be My Valentine - Ephemera, Ephemerality, and Affect from the Victorian Era to Today, taught by Professor Laura Kalba and the American Antiquarian Society. Focusing on a largely unprocessed collection of Valentine's Day cards held at AAS as well as a variety of online tokens, from memes to emojis, the course explored connections between nineteenth-century print ephemera and the ephemerality of images in the digital era.
Generously funded by the Five College Blended Learning Initiative, the course invited students to work with original nineteenth-century valentines held at AAS and a variety of digitized sources. This online exhibition seeks to illuminate not only the history of nineteenth-century love notes and printing but also the ways in which those histories and technologies continue to resonate with us today.
Clara Rosenberg '20 and Sally Stack '19 made substantial revisions to the exhibition following the end of the course, finalizing the content and design of the exhibition. "Victorian Valentines: Intimacy in the Industrial Age" was a genuinely collaborative endeavor from beginning to end.
Special thanks to Ken Albers, from the Roy Roenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, for teaching the class not only how to use Omeka but also how to manage and scale an unwieldy online project. Further thanks go to the following AAS staff members: Nan Wolverton, director of fellowships and the Center for Historic American Visual Culture (CHAViC); Lauren Hewes, Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Graphic Arts; Molly Hardy, director of digital and book history initiatives; and Marie E. Lamoureux, collections manager. Without their assistance, this project would never have taken off. We are also grateful to Nancy Rosin, for graciously allowing us to work with her valentines collection, as well as to Yasmin Eisenhauer (Smith College) and Sylvia Mosiany (Post-Baccalaureate Instructional Technology Specialist for Blended Learning), who helped us with innumerable aspects of the course, both technological and pedagogical.
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