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Valentine Day

Another “Mother of . . .”: This vintage Valentine, a long-ago gift from a friend/antique dealer, hangs in an ornate frame on the wall in my office. Little did I know at the time I received it that Valentine Day has a “Mother”–Esther Howland, who in the mid-1800s started a business with an all-female assembly line to produce Valentine cards, from simple ones for five cents to elegant creations with layers, lift-up flaps, accordion springs, die-cuts, etc. for up to fifty dollars. Known as the “Mother of the American Valentine,” she ran her very successful business for many years. The message on my card is “In Fondest Remembrance.”

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