The ‘Mom Of The American Valentine’ By no means Married
Worcester, MA, the as soon as-bustling industrial metropolis forty five minutes west of Boston the place I stay, is enormously proud of its rather peculiar checklist of “famous firsts”, including barbed wire, shredded wheat, the monkey wrench, the start management pill, the primary good sport in main league baseball, the primary liquid-fueled rocket and the ubiquitous yellow Smiley Face icon.
And every year about this time, you hear about how Worcester produced the first commercial valentines in this country thanks to a foresighted younger lady named Esther Howland, recognized because the “Mom of the Valentine.”
The preliminary demand was overwhelming and Esther gathered a few of her pals to help her assemble the valentines, seating them around a long table on the third floor of her dwelling. Stone Island Online The company was eventually earning $100,000–a phenomenal success.
Esther is considered vital because, based on historians, she was among the first commercially successful women overseeing a female-run business, and she basically created the meeting-line system, paying the native ladies “liberally”. She launched layers of lace, three-dimensional accordion effects, and insisted that the verses be hidden inside–something you had to hunt for. She had her staff mark the back of each valentine with a red “H”.
In the Victorian period, Valentines were wildly popular, and the frilly cards have been scrutinized for clues–even the position of the stamp on the envelope meant something. Often the valentine was intended as a marriage proposal.
“The last week has been a merry one in Amherst; notes have flown round like snowflakes. Historical gentlemen & spinsters, forgetting time & multitude of years, have doffed their wrinkles – in exchange for smiles…”
In 1879–after 30 years in business–Esther Howland merged with Edward Taft, the son of Jotham Taft, a North Grafton valentine maker. Together they formed the new England Valentine Co. (and their cards were marked “N.E.V.Co.”)
That is the place Esther Howland’s title of “Mom of the Valentine” begins to get just a little shaky.
It appears, upon a lot research, that Edward Taft’s father, Jotham Taft of North Grafton, a small village near Worcester, started the commercial valentine enterprise in the U.S. even before Miss Howland did, however he did stone island broek sale not wish to speak about it, as a result of the Taft household have been strict Quakers and Jotham Taft’s mom sternly disapproved of such frivolity as Valentines. (Full disclosure–I live in North Grafton, a few stone’s throw from the place Taft worked.)
In 1836, Jotham Taft married Sarah E. Coe of Rhode Island and two years later, they welcomed twin sons. However in 1840, one of many twins died immediately, leaving Mrs. Taft prostrate with grief. Jotham determined to take his spouse and surviving son to Europe with him on a buying journey for the stationer who employed him, and while in Germany, he purchased many valentines supplies–laces, lithographs, birds and cupids.
When he returned, Taft started making valentines together with his spouse’s assist, and in 1844–three years earlier than Esther Howland graduated from school–he opened a valentine “factory” in North Grafton (then called New England Village.) However because of his mom’s disapproval, Taft never put his personal title on the valentines–solely “Wooden” (his center title) or “N.E.V.” for “New England Village”. Some believed that Taft skilled Elizabeth Howland as one in all his workers before she opened her own factory.
Taft and Howland merged into the new England Valentine Co. in 1879, and a yr later Esther’s father turned sick and she left her enterprise to care for him. After he died, she moved in with one in all her brothers and she passed away in 1904.Unfortunately, despite all the couples who presumably found their true love thanks to Esther’s creations, the “Mom of the Valentine” by no means married.
In 1881, George C. Whitney bought the mixed enterprise of Taft and Howland and it turned The Whitney Co, which dominated valentine production for many years. Instead of cards laboriously made by hand, Whitney turned to machine- printed valentines and eventually added postcards in the 1890’s. The Whitney designs, featuring youngsters who resembled the “Campbell Soup ” youngsters, have been wildly well-liked, although more often exchanged by children than adult lovers, and in 1942 the Whitney factory closed, as a result of wartime paper shortages.