What Were the First Valentines Made Of?


Quick Answer

The practice of making decorated and themed cards for Valentine's Day became relatively widespread in England and other parts of Europe during the 1800s; these cards were handmade and typically contained images of flowers and cherubs along with embellishments such as lace and ribbons. During the Victorian Era, valentines often contained little or no text and were usually sent anonymously, though the addition of messages, usually poetic in nature, became increasingly popular as time went on. An American woman named Esther Howland imported the practice of mailing decorated cards for Valentine's Day in 1847, creating the first commercial greeting card company.

Continue Reading
What Were the First Valentines Made Of?
Credit: Suzy Hanzlik Photography Moment Getty Images

Full Answer

Thanks to their highly decorative nature, many examples of early Valentine's Day cards are still in existence and may be available for public viewing in library and museum collections. Though Victorian England is thought of as a staid and stuffy culture, some mildly bawdy and vulgar valentines were created during this era. Overall, early valentines were large and typically did not come in the folding card format that is associated with greeting cards today. The valentines may have been heart-shaped or rectangular and, if there was any text, that text was typically featured on the front of the card.

Learn more about Valentines Day

Related Questions