Valentine’s Day, February 14th. How was it observed in earlier days? Since I write historical romance as well as contemporary, I’m always interested in the customs of days gone by. From what I’ve found, as far back as the 15th Century, flowers were given to express love. Lovers in that time period also gave each other cards called Valentines. These were handwritten letters expressing love.
Americans in the early 1700s would have given handwritten letters to friends and lovers. Near the middle of that Century, giving small tokens of affection, as well as handwritten notes, became common practice. A woman named Esther A. Howland produced the first ready-made valentines in 1840s America. She was known as the “Mother of the Valentine.” Her creations came with real lace and ribbons. By the 20th Century, printed cards replaced the hand-written notes of days gone by. Expressing emotions became easier, if not as personal. Today, we continue sending mass-produced cards to those we love.
The card above was made by Esther Howland. The print on the open book says: “Weddings now are all the go, Will you marry me or no”?
Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!