February 12, 2011

Valentine's Day Cards

Giving valentines has been popular since the 1700s. They started out as slips of paper with messages on them but soon they began to be commercially produced in the mid 1800s.  By 1862, according to the New York Times in an article after the Civil War, 21,260 valentines were delivered to post offices in New York City even with the paper shortages caused by the war.

This number jumped to 86,213 in 1866. These numbers did not even include valentines mailed in envelopes. The 1867, article in the New York Times noted that the manufactured valentines had been using the same few poems had been using the same few poems and sentimental notes for at least 30 years prior.

Victorian Valentines were sentimental, comical and normally contained beautiful imagery. Mass produced cards often had spectacular artwork and were inserted in family photo albums.

 Some fun Valentine's Day Superstitions:

  •  In the late 1500s, it was thought that birds chose their mates on Valentine's Day.
  • In the 1770s it was thought that if a girl pinned five bay leaves to her pillow the night before Valentine's Day and she dreamed of her crush, that they would be married within the year. 
  • Another 1770s superstition was that if a girl put all of the names of her suitors on slips of paper and put them in water, the name on the slip of paper that rose to the top first would be her Valentine.
  • From the 1700s- 1870s it was believed that the first person you saw on Valentine's Day would be your Valentine.  
  • In Scotland in 1866, the young girls and boys would put their names into two separate boxes, if one person drew the name of another person three times, it was thought that the two would be married.
  • In the 1900s people believed that if a lady entertained gentlemen the night before Valentines Day, that she would soon lose her social standing.
  • Another superstition from the 1900s was if a girl looked through the keyhole of the hen house and saw a rooster and a hen together that she would be married during the year.
  • It was believed in the 1900s that if a lady went walking on Valentine's Day that she could predict who she was going to marry by the first bird that she saw: Blackbird: Clergyman, Robin or Sparrow: Sailor, Goldfinch: Millionaire, Yellow Warbler: a Wealthy man, Bluebird: a Poor man, Woodpecker: She would be an old maid.

A Valentine to Send to Your Valentines:

Read About the Language of Flowers.


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