170 Years of Valentine’s Day Cards From The Collections of The Henry Ford

From the Collections of The Henry Ford
Valentine Card, “To My Valentine,” 1922; Place of creation and printing: Germany. Credit: From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

Introduced by MALIK MERCHANT
Publisher/Editor  SimergphotosBarakah and Simerg

I have hundreds of websites stored on my favourites list, and many are out-dated. One of my favourite links that I had not visited for sometime is The Henry Ford Magazine Page. Valentine’s Day is on Monday February 14, and I decided to search their digital collections for cards befitting the occasion. I have selected some 30 cards produced since the 1850’s. The Ford website states that the “custom of sending messages of affection on February 14 dates back to Roman times, when Mid-February was a time to meet and court prospective mates. The earliest American valentines were labors of love, handmade by the sender. The spread of commercially produced valentines in the second half of the nineteenth century made sending and receiving Valentine’s Day cards a more lighthearted activity.”

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Popup Valentine, “To One I Love,” circa 1925. Credit: From the Collections of The Henry Ford

Simergphotos is indebted to the Archives & Library division of The Henry Ford for facilitating the publication of these beautiful photos from its vast Digital Collection. Please explore the collection by visiting Digital Collections.  It offers advanced filtering and sort options to narrow down your search results. Note that the use of these images is permitted for non-commercial purposes under Creative Commons License BY-NC-ND.

Enjoy the images!

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Creators Pohl, Mattie and Place of Creation: Cincinnati
Embroidered Wall Hanging, Valentine’s Day Gift to Henry Ford, 1932. Creators and place of creation: Pohl, Mattie, Cincinnati, USA. Credit: From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

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Valentine Card, “To Mother and Dad,” circa 1975. Creators: Hallmark Cards. Credit: From the Collections of The Henry Ford

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From the Collections of The Henry Ford. American Greetings Corporation. Place of Creation United States, Ohio, Cleveland.
Valentine Card, “To a Wonderful Grandma on Valentine’s Day,” circa 1950. Creators and place of creation: American Greetings Corporation, Cleveland, Ohio, USA. Credit: From the Collections of The Henry Ford

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From the Collections of The Henry Ford
Fold-Out Valentine Card, “Valentine Greetings,” February 14, 1920. Heart reads VALENTINE GREETINGS on the top of the foldout front. Mailbox behind it reads TO MY VALENTINE Bottom flap reads: TO MY VALENTINE / THIS LITTLE TOKEN, LET THY LOVE COMBINE / WITH MINE, MY ONLY CHOSEN VALENTINE Handwritten in pencil on back: To Virginia / From Dorothy / Feb 14, 1920. Credit: From the Collections of The Henry Ford

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From the Collections of The Henry Ford
Valentine’s Day Greeting Postcard, “To My Sweet Valentine,” 1910. Place of creation and printing: Germany. Credit: From the Collections of The Henry Ford

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From the Collections of The Henry Ford
Three-Dimensional Valentine Card, “To My Valentine O Thou Bright Morning Star,” 1900-1920. Credit: From the Collections of The Henry Ford

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From the Collections of The Henry Ford
Valentine, “Bank of True Love,” circa 1852. Creators and place of creation: Marsh, Richard, New York. Credit: From the Collections of The Henry Ford

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From the Collections of The Henry Ford
Catalog of Valentines for 1882, McLoughlin Brothers, 1882. Throughout the second half of the nineteenth century, family members and sweethearts commonly exchanged Valentine’s Day greetings. Typical valentines were frilly and often depicted cherubs, birds, or flower garlands. This eye-catching catalog lists a range of valentines offered by the McLoughlin Bros. publishing firm for 1882. Credit: From the Collections of The Henry Ford

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From the Collections of The Henry Ford
Mechanical Valentine, “Radio Me and I’ll Radio You, Be My Valentine, I’m Your Valentine” circa 1920. Romance has faced unique challenges in the digital age. Text messages, emails, and emoticons have become shorthand for amorous expressions among the Millennial generation and smartphone users. But love and technology have been entwined longer than one would think. While this 1920s depiction of young radio operator love is somewhat fantastical, it forecasts high-tech courtship in the 21st century.. Place of creation: Germany. Credit: From the Collections of The Henry Ford

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From the Collections of The Henry Ford
Valentine Card, “To a Student,” 1925-1930. Creators and place of creation: Buzza Company, Minneapolis, USA. Inscription: On small loose card in slit in center of valentine: ESSAY Chapter One: I like your style / …Chapter Two…Chapter Three… friend that I could like until the end. Handwritten in ink on essay card: Marian Printed on front of cutout card: To A Student / Here’s a Book that’s full / o’ knowledge/ You may have read it through … / An essay just for You. Credit: From the Collections of The Henry Ford

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From the Collections of The Henry Ford
Bird-Shaped Valentine Card, “To Virginia from Margaret,” February 1920. Credit: From the Collections of The Henry Ford

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From the Collections of The Henry Ford
Valentine by Esther Allen Howland, “Forever Yours,” circa 1855. Esther Howland–the daughter of a stationery store owner–received an ornate English valentine from her father’s business associate. She became intrigued. Using family connections to gather materials like lace and colored paper, 20-year-old Esther made her own hand-crafted valentines in 1848. The enterprising Esther was soon employing her friends in an assembly line method to satisfy customer demand. Her New England Valentine Company became a great success! Credit: From the Collections of The Henry Ford

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From the Collections of The Henry Ford
Comic Valentine, “To an Elderly Wheelwoman,” circa 1895. Creators and place of creation: McLoughlin Brothers, New York. Inscription: printed on front: TO AN ELDERLY WHEELWOMAN. Do you know that you’re perfectly shocking? An object for laughter and mocking? My purpose is not to upbraid you, But just as a friend to persuade you, Thant Cycling is an occupation In which you won’t gain reputation; If truth must be told, you’re too awkward and old, And you ought to resist so absurd a temptation. Credit: From the Collections of The Henry Ford

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From the Collections of The Henry Ford
Fold-out Valentine’s Day Card, “To My Valentine,” 1900-1920. Place of creation and printing: Germany. Credit: From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

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From the Collections of The Henry Ford
.Comic Valentine for a Marksman, circa 1855. From the 1840s into the early 1900s, some people sent inexpensive Valentine’s Day greetings that chided, warned, or insulted the recipient. An exaggerated, often garish cartoon and short verse described and dismissed someone’s looks, intelligence, personality, or behavior. Within the atmosphere of a festive holiday, under the cover of humor, these “vinegar valentines” were acceptable critiques of behaviors that deviated from social norms. Inscription: printed on front: No doubt, my dear friend, with your good rifled bore, You could hit on the wing an old-fashioned barn door; But when you attempt to pierce a girl’s heart, You will find you’ve attempted a difficult part. So put down your rifle, you wall-eyed blockhead, you, I rather would die an old maid than to wed you. 514. Credit: From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

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From the Collections of The Henry Ford
Valentine Card, “May I Come into the Garden of Your Heart?,” circa 1925. Credit: From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

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From the Collections of The Henry Ford
Comic Valentine, “A Swell Head,” circa 1855. From the 1840s into the early 1900s, some people sent inexpensive Valentine’s Day greetings that chided, warned, or insulted the recipient. An exaggerated, often garish cartoon and short verse described and dismissed someone’s looks, intelligence, personality, or behavior. Within the atmosphere of a festive holiday, under the cover of humor, these “vinegar valentines” were acceptable critiques of behaviors that deviated from social norms. Credit: From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

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From the Collections of The Henry Ford
Comic Valentine Card, “Oh Valentine! Whenever I Pause An’ Think of You, Woo! Woo!,” 1954. Creators and place of creation: Norcross Inc ., New York. Credit: From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

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From the Collections of The Henry Ford
Movable Valentine Card, “To My Dear One,” circa 1921. Credit: From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

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From the Collections of The Henry Ford
Mechanical Valentine in the Shape of a Dog, “A Token of Affection,” circa 1925. Place of creation: Germany. Credit: From the Collections of The Henry Ford

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From the Collections of The Henry Ford
Three-Dimensional Valentine, “To My Valentine,” circa 1900. Place of creation: Germany. Credit: From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

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From the Collections of The Henry Ford
Valentine Card, circa 1905. Creators and place of creation: Raphael Tuck & Sons, London, England. Credit: From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

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From the Collections of The Henry Ford
Valentine Card, circa 1900. Credit: From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

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From the Collections of The Henry Ford
Valentine Card, “I’m a Suffragette and I Don’t Care Who Knows It,” circa 1910. Credit: From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

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From the Collections of The Henry Ford
Valentine Card, “It’s Your Lead, My Valentine,” circa 1925. Inscription: Printed on center under table: It’s your lead / MY VALENTINE Printed on boy’s cap brim: NAVAL RESERV: Credit: From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

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From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Whitman's Saturday Evening Post Company
Whitman’s Chocolates Advertisement, “Who Says Men Don’t Understand Women,” 1957. Creators: Whitman’s Saturday Evening Post Company. Credit: From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

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From the Collections of The Henry Ford
Valentine Card, “A Valentine Especially for You,” circa 1975. Creators and place of creation: Hallmark Cards, Kansas City, Missouri. Credit: From the Collections of The Henry Ford

Date posted: February 12, 2022.

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