Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day

This morning when I needed to search for something on the Internet, I went to Google. I was not surprised to see a Google Doodle that recognized today as Valentine's Day. It was such an unpleasing doodle that I felt compelled to alter it. So on a lark I replaced the blue areas with white and the green areas with pink. I left the red areas as they appeared.

As I was altering the Google Doodle, I began to wonder about the history of Valentine's Day. Growing up, I heard it described as a Hallmark card holiday. That description did seem to make sense since during my adult years, Hallmark introduced cards to celebrate Secretary's Day, Grandparent's Day, Boss' Day, etc.

The Hallmark Card Company made the sending of commercially made Valentines card popular in the early twentieth century, but Hallmark was not the first to produce Valentine's Day cards for sale.

Esther Allen Howland was the daughter of a man who owned a stationary store in Massachusetts. Her father sold handmade valentine cards made in England. Esther decided that she could make cards of her own. She was surprised at the number of people who were interested in buying her cards and could not keep up with the demand on her own.

Around 1847, she established a workroom and employed women to produce handmade Valentines. Her cards sold for between $5 and $30. Obviously, the everyday guy could not pay for such an expensive card. Fifty years later Hallmark made affordable cards for the masses.

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