In our archives we’re delighted to have several beautiful cards and love letters that Sarah Smith Avery and Christopher “Kitty” Avery gave each other. Most of these date from the late 1840s, before they were married in 1850. Valentines were a way for young people to show their affection while still following society’s rigid expectations.
In that time cards like these were made by small printers or even imported from England. One of the most successful early printers of valentines was actually made by a woman named Esther Howland in 1848. She started her own factory in Worcester, Massachusetts called the New England Valentine Company and her workers were primarily woman. Her valentines had exquisite details like embossing and doors that could open to reveal images. Because of both the artistry of her designs as well as their popularity Esther, is often known as the Mother of Valentines.
We hope you enjoy this peek into our archives.