Vintage Valentines…sharing the love

Heavy cardboard, movable eyes, circa 1930. From my grandmother's box.

I hate the Valentines for sale these days.  Let’s see, there’s Scooby Doo, Barbie, Transformers, Bratz, and anything that’s trending now like…Justin Bieber.  Ick!  In my opinion it’s just plain wrong!  Valentines used to be cute, with kids or animal images on them and some sort of poem or greeting.  They came in shapes already cut and possibly adorned with moving or embossed parts, glitter and/or flocked highlights.  You gave the best, “coolest” Valentine to the boy you liked, and the less cool ones to the boys you couldn’t stand.  The box always had a special teacher card that you reverently addressed in your best writing.  For some really beautiful examples check out Vintage Valentine Museum and be amazed:

My grandmother was a teacher in Orange County, California from the late 1920’s until 1955, and I was lucky to find a box of cards she had saved from students over the years.  Many of them were Valentines and a collection I hold very dear to this day.  As I read the messages and admired the art, I realized how far removed the Valentines of today are from those of eighty years ago.  It got me started on collecting more vintage Valentines and then that wasn’t enough.  I found I needed to share this lost art with others who might never know what Valentines used to look like.

I began printing out color copies of vintage examples and bringing them in to my class of 1st graders.  I passed them out and we read the poems and solgans together.  I let the kids cut the copies out and decorate their Valentine holders with the vintage images.  I had parents start asking about them and other teachers asking for copies to share with their students.  Now it’s a tradition to bring them out every year and teach the kids about how Valentines used to be.  The kids love learning about this lost art and I feel a little better about sharing the love of these special sentiments from times past.


Even the Titantic is pretty cute!


Love the play on words in this one!

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