The Valentine’s Day Card

During the Middle Ages Valentine’s Day became associated with romance.  This was inspired by Geoffrey Chaucer.

By 1797 printers in England had started generating “mechanical valentines” a limited number of special cards containing sentimental verses.  These cards could be sent at reduced postal rates making it easier to mail cards anonymously.   

The early 19th Century started the popularity of factory made paper Valentine’s.  Real ribbons and lace were used to make fancy cards.  Paper lace was developed in the mid-19th Century.  By the end of the century all cards were machine made.


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Esther Howland, daughter to a Massachusetts book and stationery store owner, began a greeting card business in 1850.  She began by importing paper lace and floral decorations from England.

People in the United States extended the card giving tradition and began giving a variety of Valentine’s Day gifts in the mid to late 20th century. 

An estimate 150 million Valentine’s are expected to be sent this year in the United States, according to the U.S. Greeting Card Association.  Valentine’s Day is the second most popular card sending holiday in the United States; Christmas is first.

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Half of those cards are given to non husband or wife family members. 

If you include Elementary School Valentine exchanges an estimate 1 billion Valentine’s are sent each year.  Teachers receive the most Valentine wishes! 

In 2010 approximately 15 million greetings were sent via e-valentine.

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More often than not I make a card on the computer and write a lovely little note to the Rancher.  The Rancher often finds the construction paper and makes me a card.  Cards with cut out hearts and drawn cupid’s arrow.

We don’t go “all out” or do anything real fancy to celebrate Valentine’s Day.  Many of the past years our first calf came on Valentine’s Day.  A card and sometimes a small gift or flowers are exchanged.  We enjoy a nice supper, chocolate dessert and retire to the couch for our regularly scheduled evening. 

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Happy Valentine’s Day, Dear Readers! 

What are your Valentine’s Day traditions?

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13 Responses to The Valentine’s Day Card

  1. Rebecca says:

    I like to get simple cards made by hand, put in individually addressed envelopes, which are then put in a Manila envelope and sent to either the Postmaster at Valentine, Nebraska or Loveland, Colorado–which are then special postmarked for the occasion and sent to the recipients! Very fun! <3

    • Robyn says:

      In High School our Ag Teacher would send cards to Valentine for the special stamp. It is fun to go out of the way and do something special for those we love.
      My Mom and Dad live about 3 hours south of Valentine.

  2. Thank you for the trip down memory lane and the history of Valentine’s Day, Robyn!

    I usually bake my hubby a batch of heart-shaped sugar cookies, which I did last weekend. 🙂

    • Robyn says:

      I usually make cookies and send them to family and friends with a card. I didn’t get around to it this year. I didn’t send any cards for V-Day. I will have to do better for Easter.

  3. Candy C. says:

    Great history lesson! 🙂
    I usually make Jerry a card and some kind of chocolate dessert. This year, he got leftover frozen fudge from Christmas and ya’ know what, it froze very nicely! I wasn’t too sure how it would turn out.

    • Robyn says:

      I usually am very good about having stuff in my freezer. We have eaten all of my reserves. All except 1 loaf of rye bread from your recipe. I don’t see that lasting too much longer. I hope to catch up on some baking this weekend.

  4. Linda says:

    We might go out to dinner, otherwise we just watch our regular evening shows, too. 🙂

  5. Kim says:

    I loved the old-fashioned Valentines pictured. For a long time, I saved my childhood Valentines and birthday cards, but I tossed them sometime. Now I wish I hadn’t done that (but my husband and daughter are glad because it will be less to have to eventually sort through)! A restaurant in our small town is having a special dinner tonight, along with a viewing of the Joyful Noise movie. Many times, we don’t do anything special, other than me making a special treat for Randy. Happy Valentine’s Day, Robyn and the Rancher!

  6. Kari Sanders says:

    Happy belated Valentine’s Day to you and Jim.

  7. Carolina HeartStrings says:

    Love your site: the variety and content! Especially liked this post on Valentines. Great history. Hadn’t thought about alllll the extra little valentines that the school kiddies give out. This was the first year that my youngest, now in his last year of middle school, didn’t take in cards. It was a sad little rite of passage having that end 🙁

    • Robyn says:

      Thanks for the comment. Glad you enjoy my content; I appreciate it!

      The end of Valentine’s Day cards for school would be kind of sad. I try to send cards out to family and a few close friends and didn’t get it done this year.

  8. Amy Kirk says:

    Every Valentine’s Day I help my florist girlfriend at her flowershop, so I know who all comes in last minute! haha! It was a very busy couple of long days, but well spent in a fun place with other girlfriends, yet by the time I get home on the 14th all I want is to have my feet rubbed and drink a beer! I wrote a column about Valentine’s Day on the ranch. Art and I usually wait & go on a date night to celebrate a few days/a week later, when we can savor and enjoy it crowd-free. We usually don’t exchange gifts; just a card. A few times he’s surprised me with a gift though.

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