Mount Holyoke College: Early Valentines Exhibit

Will You Be Mine? An Exhibition of Early Valentines
An Exhibit, Ground Floor of Dwight Hall
at Mount Holyoke College
February 3 – February 22, 2009

Each year, the Mount Holyoke Archives and Special Collections at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA, display valentines from the collection in honor of Esther Howland, a Mount Holyoke alumna credited with having established the commercial valentine industry in the United States. Howland graduated from the Seminary in 1847 and, inspired by an ornate English valentine, began creating her own elaborate renditions of the greeting card. The exhibit contains a selection of original valentines made by her New England Valentine Co., as well as some by George TC. Whitney, the designer who bought Howland’s increasingly popular company in the early 1880’s. Other valentines were gven to the collection in the personal papers of former faculty members Mildred Allen and Ruth Lawson. They show stylistic shifts within the valentine industry as it endured paper shortages, postcard crazes and a growing nostalgia for the Victorian-style cards that characterized the golden age of valentine production in both Western Europe and the United States.

This exhibit runs from 02/03/09-02/22/09.  Dwight Hall is open Mon-Thurs from 8am-Midnight, Fri-Sun from 10am-10pm. Click here to see images of Valentines from this exhibit.


Another Vintage Valentines Exhibit is at the West Virginia University Libraries which can be viewed on-line here. View a collection of over 40 valentines, including greeting cards, 3-D cards, and postcards. “While browsing click on the thumbnail images to view the larger, full resolution, images of the Vintage Valentines day cards. From the full size image you may send a greeting and message via email.

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