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Valentines Within the U.S. — All of it Started Right here

Worcester, MA, the as soon as-bustling industrial metropolis forty five minutes west of Boston, where I stay, is enormously pleased with its slightly peculiar record of “well-known firsts”, including barbed wire, shredded wheat, the monkey wrench, the start control pill, the first excellent game in main league baseball, the primary liquid-fueled rocket and the ubiquitous yellow Smiley Face icon (starring in a soon-to-be printed tell-all e book “The Saga of Smiley”, printed by the Worcester Historic Museum and written by me.

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And every year, about this time, you hear about how Worcester produced the primary industrial valentines on this country thanks to a foresighted younger lady named Esther Howland, recognized as the “Mom of the Valentine.”

The preliminary demand for her valentines was overwhelming and Esther gathered a few of her associates to help her assemble the valentines, seating them round a long desk on the third ground of her dwelling. The company was ultimately incomes $a hundred,000 — a phenomenal success.

Esther is taken into account important because, in response to historians, she was among the first commercially profitable ladies overseeing a feminine-run business, and she basically created the meeting-line system, paying the local women “liberally”.

She launched layers of lace, three-dimensional accordion effects, and insisted that the verses be hidden inside, one thing you needed to hunt for. She had her employees mark the again of each valentine with a pink “H”.

Within the Victorian era, Valentines were wildly well-liked and the elaborate playing cards have been scrutinized for clues — even the position of the stamp on the envelope meant one thing. Typically the valentine was meant as a marriage proposal.

“The final week has been a merry one in Amherst, & notes have flown around like snowflakes. Historical gentlemen & spinsters, forgetting time & multitude of years, have doffed their wrinkles – in change for smiles…”

In 1879 — after 30 years in enterprise–Esther merged with Edward Taft, the son of Jotham Taft, a North Grafton valentine maker. Together they formed the new England Valentine Co. (and their playing cards had been marked “N.E.V.Co.”)

This is the place Esther Howland’s title of “Mom of the Valentine” begins to get slightly shaky.
It appears, upon much research, that Edward Taft’s father, Jotham Taft of North Grafton, a small village close to Worcester, began the business valentine business within the U.S. even before Miss Howland did, but he did not like to speak about it as a result of the Taft family have been strict Quakers and Jotham Taft’s mother sternly disapproved of such frivolity as Valentines. (Full disclosure — I dwell in North Grafton, a couple of stone’s throw from where Taft labored.)

In 1836, Jotham Taft married Sarah E. Coe of Rhode Island and two years later they welcomed twin sons. However in 1840, one of many twins died all of the sudden, leaving Mrs. Taft prostrate with grief. Jotham determined to take his wife and surviving son to Europe with him on a shopping for trip for the stationer who employed him, and while in Germany, he bought many valentines provides — laces, lithographs, birds and cupids.

When he returned, Taft began making valentines together with his spouse’s help, and in 1844–three years before Esther Howland graduated from college–he opened a valentine “factory” in North Grafton (then known as New England Village.) But due to his mom’s disapproval, Taft never put his own name on the valentines — only “Wooden” (his center identify) or “N.E.V.” for “New England Village”. Some believed that Taft skilled Elizabeth Howland as stone island 30th anniversary tela stella jacket in navy one in all his staff before she opened her own factory

Taft and Howland merged into the new England Valentine Co. in 1879 and a yr later, Esther’s father turned unwell and she left her enterprise to care for him. After he died, she moved in with one among her brothers and she handed away in 1904.

Sadly, despite all of the couples who presumably discovered their true love because of Esther’s creations, the “Mom of the Valentine” by no means married.

In 1881, George C. Whitney bought the combined business of Taft and Howland and it grew to become The Whitney Co, which dominated valentine manufacturing for a few years. As a substitute of cards laboriously made by hand, Whitney turned to machine- printed valentines and ultimately added postcards in the 1890’s. The designs, featuring youngsters who resembled the “Campbell Soup ” kids, were wildly standard, although extra often exchanged by children than adult lovers, and in 1942 the Whitney factory closed, on account of wartime paper shortages

(The valentines above, from my assortment, are German and English-made — sadly not by Howland or Taft.)

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Ben Franklin
In 1778, making an attempt to lift money for our revolt, Ben pranced around Paris in frontier drag–full-on Daniel Boone, coonskin cap and all–displaying the French what they expected to see: the self-invented American. This mummery drove John Adams to his therapy couch (aka, his letters to Abigail) stone island 30th anniversary tela stella jacket in navy the place he fumed about disgraceful “public males” (i.e.media whores). In the long run, a completely enraged Adams fled Paris, while Franklin carried on, finally securing the cash and alliance that gained the conflict.

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