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Mother of the American Valentine

The price of buying Valentine cards for grandchildren and each other prompted me to wonder: Who turned expressing love with cards into a big business? Credit goes to Esther Howland, known as the “Mother of the American Valentine.” On this day in 1849 in Worcester, MA, Esther Howland sold the first American-made valentines that she created, inspired by an elegant one made in England that a friend had sent her. Creating cards that sold from five cents to fifty dollars, Howland created the New England Valentine Company. The picture is one of her creations.

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