Valentine’s Day Cards, c.1880.
Winnetkan Susan Garland received these cards sometime in the 1880s. While valentines were still sent to romantic loves, in the 1800s, people began to send greetings to a larger circle of loved ones or friends.
Victorian valentines were often hand-decorated with ribbon, lace, or sometimes feathers and real plants and flowers. These valentines also incorporate “scraps,” printed paper cutouts of various subjects that were used for various crafts, including scrapbooks. The term “scrapbook,” in fact, comes from these colorful paper goods. Paper lace was popular too, and is used here to give the cards more layers and dimension.
Unlike today, the Victorian period also introduced the trend of mean or nasty valentines. Not the least bit sweet or loving, these comical valentines generally made fun of the recipient’s appearance, disposition, or love life (or lack thereof). It seems that Miss Garland was only blessed with kind greetings, however, on this particular February 14th!