Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Nostalgia: Vintage Valentines

From elaborate expressions of love to elementary school exchanges, Valentine’s day is one of the rare remaining holidays where we still send, make and share memorable written sentiments (yay!).

The history of the paper Valentine is a long one, dating back to the 1400s.  By the mid-1800s Valentine’s were so popular they were being manufactured in factories, and by the end of the century were almost 100% created by machines with elaborate die cuts, shapes and even pop-up or moving parts.

Whether handmade or printed, the timelessness of paper Valentines is evident in the wonderful vintage postcards and printed cards that were saved and now can be found in excellent condition on the dusty shelves of antique shops.  I have recently expanded my collection of vintage Valentines, charmed by the history captured in the illustrations and the messages on the back. (One of my favorites, featured below with the graceful 1920s woman at her dressing table, addressed to a Miss Emily, says "I thought I would send you a Valentine, From your Scholar").

To celebrate Valentine’s Day on The Paper Compass, I thought I would share some of my favorite vintage Valentines from my collection. 

I like to give vintage Valentines a second life by color copying them and creating new Valentines.  It makes me happy that they’ll live another day to delight and share some love.

What is the most memorable paper Valentine that you made or received?  How about a paper Valentine tradition that you remember? (I can still remember the dry sugary scent of candy hearts eaten as we walked around the first grade class room putting Valentines into manila envelopes taped to the back of our desk chairs.)

Have a wonderful Valentine's Day!  Share your paper Valentine memories here on The Paper Compass.  

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