In honor of Valentine’s Day tomorrow, we present links to several valentine collections held by historical societies.
The Wisconsin Historical Society presents a Valentine’s Day card gallery featuring 99 valentines from 1840 to 1980. An accompanying brief history of Valentine’s Day greeting cards highlights the role of Worcester, Massachusetts, native Esther Howland in popularizing the exchange of valentines.
WBUR, Boston’s public radio station, told the story of Esther Howland for a Valentine’s Day segment last year. You can listen to an audio clip and view a slideshow of valentines created by Esther Howland that are now part of the collections of the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester.
The American Antiquarian Society also features an online exhibit, Making Valentines: A Tradition in America, which includes five sections: origins, early valentines, Esther Howland, George Whitney, and Victorian valentines.
The Maine Historical Society’s Maine Memory Network showcases valentines from its collections in an online slideshow.
A brief podcast from the Minnesota Historical Society entitled “Believe Me True: Victorian Valentines, 1840–1890," highlights valentines from the Society’s collections. An article about valentines in the Minnesota Historical Society collections, published in Minnesota History in 1981, is available online.