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A Little History about Valentine's Day Cards

Updated on March 23, 2014

I remember when I was in the first or second grade and it was around the time for Valentine's Day and the teacher would always have us make these bags decorated with red hearts and lace and whatever else we could think of, it was so much fun. Then on Valentine's Day we would all bring our valentine cards and give each of our classmates a valentine in their bag so no one went home without a valentine card. Then afterward we would have a little party and the teacher would give us cupcakes and cookies and whatever other treat she brought for us. After school I would be anxious to get home to show my mother and father and sisters my valentines. I remember keeping them for a long time.

Now the reason I bring this up is because when my kids were small and they would have Valentine's Day parties as well, they would bring home their valentine cards and I noticed that there was such a difference between the valentine cards that I would get as a child compared to my kids' cards. Their cards just didn't seem to have the beauty or flair that mine did. I think they just mass produced these valentine cards with barbie on them or other cartoons without giving thought to giving them any character or personality. The vintage valentine cards were just so much prettier and colorful.
So I did some research on the history of Valentine cards and what I found was pretty interesting I hope you enjoy it as well as the old valentine pictures that I found.

Much to my surprise valentine cards started way back in the middle ages and usually the suiter would sing their valentine to their prospective love. Then around the 1500's is when the paper valentine cards started appearing in Europe. Valentine cards were especially popular in England and people started officially giving each other cards on February 14.Charles II of Sweden is credited with the language of flowers, a poetical art that started around the eighteenth century. A form of floral dictionaries were published with several different meanings for several different flowers. The red rose was quickly associated with love and so the bouquet of red roses started to be a tradition for giving on Valentine's Day.
Valentines cards in America started around 1723. They started to call them "writers" which was actually just a booklet that contained special versus or religious sayings that people would copy to pretty paper. Men would give a girl a valentine card that said would you be my valentine with a special message inside and then the girl would return a yes or no. Some of the religious cards contained the "Sacred Heart'along with an angel, this could have been the start of the heart with cupid on valentine cards.
During the victoran era is when the most beautiful cards started appearing. They were little works of art and people would take great pains to  make a card that was usually made on embossed paper with lace, and honeycombed tissue, watercolors, paper puffs, and colored inks. These types of valentine cards were the most unusual and they are pretty much non existent today. There are several that are still in museums and such but it was in 1909 that valentine cards were mass produced, but they still remained beautiful and lovely compared to the valentine cards of today. I think that the Valentine's of today are nice but they just do not have that look that I love so much.
An interesting point about Victorian etiquette suggests that it was improper for a woman to give a man a valentine card.


Submit a Comment

  • ladyjane1 profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from Texas

    Thanks everyone for enjoying my hub. Hope everyone had a nice valentines day Cheers,.

  • FloBe profile image

    Flo Belanger 

    6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

    I remember as a child having the same Valentine's party at school and coming home with them. I cherished them a lot and would glue them into a scrapbook (which I still have!) They were so pretty. I loved Valentine's Day even through the years when I was single--it was a day to share love and special heart gifts with friends & family. Now I continue that tradition even though I have my special Valentine as well :) Thank you for sharing the beautiful cards and taking me down memory lane.

  • CreateSquidoo profile image


    6 years ago

    Now I know the history of a valentine card.

  • alinamassy profile image


    6 years ago from India

    Hi ladyjane1 i like this hub and card are so beautiful. Thanks of sharing a interesting hub...

    Vote up and Interesting

  • cebutouristspot profile image


    6 years ago from Cebu

    Very nice. Another day in hubpages another knowledge gain. Thanks for sharing.

  • jainismus profile image

    Mahaveer Sanglikar 

    6 years ago from Pune, India

    Thank you for sharing these great Valentine's Day Cards. Voted up and shared.

  • sunkentreasure profile image


    6 years ago from RUIMSIG, SOUTH AFRICA




    I love you so very, very dearly.

    Because of you…

    My world has become more beautiful

    Because you’re you …

    My life is now more meaningful

    I will never forget your kindness

    Through all the sunsets of our lives

    I will be adoring you

    Without end

    “I Love You!”

    © Bernard Levine

  • ladyjane1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Texas

    Thanks again presetio30 for taking the time to read my hubs today it is very much appreciated and thanks for your lovely comments

  • prasetio30 profile image


    8 years ago from malang-indonesia

    I like this story and the video is touching my heart. THis song is my favorite. I like Martina Mcbride. And those card is really beautiful.

  • ladyjane1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Texas

    Hi Valerie thanks for your nice comments, I really never noticed the African/black cherub that you mentioned. Now that I see it I guess it could be. Nice insight. Thanks.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    Very interesting article. I collect old Valentine cards, and the one you have posted above of the lady with cherubs is very unusual in that one of the cherubs appears to be African/black? I have hundreds of old Valentines and have never seen one like it. It's very cool!

  • ladyjane1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Texas

    Thank you barrabooks, I appreciate you taking the time to read my hub. And I agree with you about the Valentine story, I love everything related to this tradition :)

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    Very interesting. And yes, I agree, mass produced Valentine's just aren't the same as homemade ones. My son has to make only 15 for his class, but can you imagine doing 30? The story about St. Valentine is equally fascinatin as the history of cards.

  • ladyjane1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Texas

    You are quite welcome mr caliber and I agree I would have never thought that this tradition went back this far. And I see your point about getting teased perhaps that is the reason we only gave them away in grade school after that kids are pretty shy about hearts and cupids. I appreciate you taking the time to read it. Have a good day

  • 50 Caliber profile image

    50 Caliber 

    8 years ago from Arizona

    A little history of Valentines Day, I thank you for doing the research on it so now I know. I've never been one to participate since grade school. If we gave a girl a valentine card we got endlessly teased that we had a girl friend at a time when we were supposed to think girls had cooties and stuff so we pretty much shied from it due to the teasing.

    Thanks for an interesting view of it historically, I would have never guessed the tradition to be as old as it is.


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